Blackpool plug away at “underwater” training ground

Blackpool manager Neil McDonald
Blackpool manager Neil McDonald

Blackpool’s match preparations are being hampered by half of their training ground being “under water”, according to Neil McDonald.

The Seasiders manager revealed that the winter weather on the Fylde coast has left his squad with just one pitch to train on.

Pool are planning a new facility at their Squires Gate base, upgrading a site described by former manager Ian Holloway as a “hellhole”.

The Seasiders are expecting planning approval from Fylde Council, and The Gazette understands that chairman Karl Oyston aims to have the modernised complex ready for the start of next season.

For now, though, McDonald and his players are having to make do. The Pool boss said: “We have had one pitch underwater at the training ground for a couple of months.

“We’ve got on with it and get through it. We won’t complain too much.”

Pool head south tomorrow ahead of Saturday’s match at Swindon, hoping to return to winning ways after taking just one point from the past week’s home games against relegation rivals Shrewsbury Town and Oldham Athletic.

Pool went into those games four points clear of the League One drop zone and hoping to pull clear. The gap is still four, though fourth-bottom Fleetwood now have two games in hand on the Seasiders.

McDonald added: “The bottom four have come closer as people are picking up points all the time. That’s what we must do now – we have to pick up points.

“We have a difficult away game against Swindon now, but we need to try and come home with at least a point. We have to try to pick up points every game.

“We are progressing slowly but we still have lots to work on and get better at. But picking up points gives everyone confidence and that’s what we have to aim to do now.”

Saturday’s opponents Swindon lie five points ahead of the Seasiders but are looking up rather than down.

And the fact their hosts will come out and attack Pool this weekend is something McDonald feels may suit his side. He said: “I think it’s difficult to break anyone down in this division and that’s been shown this season.

“Everyone keeps things tight but it will suit us playing against a team that attacks us.

“We are able to compete against anyone in this league, whether they are at the top or bottom.”