Dead-balls are killing us, blasts Blackpool boss

Neil McDonald
Neil McDonald
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Blackpool return to the training ground this morning with one topic high on their agenda – defending set-pieces.

The Seasiders have conceded four goals in their past two games from dead-ball situations, something which has left manager Neil McDonald furious.

It’s a major turnaround for a side which had conceded just three goals in their previous eight games.

Tuesday’s 1-0 defeat at Bradford was decided by a header from a corner – and McDonald has seen enough.

The Pool boss blasted: “That’s four set-plays we’ve conceded from in two games and that isn’t good enough.

“We need to be physically stronger and win the first header.

“We have some big lads in our team and we had been defending set-pieces really well until the last couple of games.

“We have to get better at those. We can’t be losing games because of set-plays.

“It’s a case now of going back to being much more solid and hoping our open play will create the chances to win the games.

“I think that apart from one set-play we kept the opposition very quiet on Tuesday night.

“It’s about man-marking and making sure that we win that first contact.

“If we can’t do that, we have to make things very difficult for our opposition.”

Two defeats in four days have left Pool just a point above the relegation zone, though they now face a welcome rest from League One action.

On Saturday they visit Barnet in the first round of the FA Cup before travelling to Wigan on Tuesday for a regional quarter-final in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy.

Right-back Hayden White is expected to miss the trip to London because of a hamstring strain, but it’s at left-back that McDonald now has a selection headache.

The manager dropped skipper David Ferguson at Bradford, where replacement Charles Dunne impressed and is likely to retain his place.

And McDonald thinks the former Wycombe man deserves his chance after a patient wait on the sidelines.

The Pool boss explained: “The decision to leave David out was a selection choice rather than injury.

“Charles Dunne had been waiting his turn and did very well, I thought. He took his chance really well.

“David has done really well too. It was just the right time to give him a bit of a rest.

“He’s a young kid, who came through a nervy start to the season and has really improved.

“Charles has waited for his chance and I think he took it, that’s for sure.”

Pool are in the middle of a run of four successive away games and will head south tomorrow afternoon.

But the schedule doesn’t concern the manager too much. McDonald added: “The games are coming thick and fast but that’s fine.

“We have a few miles to travel, along with our supporters, on this little run of away games but we’ll be doing our best to try to get back to winning ways.”