Evatt: Maximum points needed at home

Ian Evatt
Ian Evatt
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IAN Evatt says six points from Blackpool’s Bloomfield Road showdowns with Leeds and Burnley are a must.

With the Championship play-off race reaching its climax, the centre-back believes Pool should be aiming for nothing less than maximum points from this week’s final two home matches.

Saturday’s goalless draw at Nottingham Forest kept Ian Holloway’s men fifth in the table – and unbeaten in four games, with three clean sheets.

But the table has tightened up – sixth-placed Cardiff are level with Pool on 68 points, with Middlesbrough just two behind in seventh. Any slips-ups in the final three games and the Seasiders could find themselves out of the play-off places.

But ahead of tomorrow’s visit of Leeds – to be followed by Saturday’s Lancashire derby – Evatt is confident the Tangerines have what it takes to get the job done.

He said: “I think Saturday was a decent afternoon in the context of the play-off situation but we just have to concentrate on our own jobs. It is in our hands.

“We have two home games to come now and we have to make sure we get the points in both of them. The gaffer was delighted after the Forest game and the players were too. It is a good point.

“The manager is pleased with the way we are playing and the way we are defending. We look a lot more solid as a team and I think that is going to stand us in good stead for the games to come.

“The way we are playing at the moment we want maximum points. We don’t settle for draws. We try to win every game and that is what we are aiming to do for the remainder of the season.

“The games are coming thick and fast now, but when you are in good form you want to play as often as you can. We’re looking forward to two home games in a week and we want six points.”

Evatt was in the Pool side which thrashed Leeds 5-0 at Elland Road in November.

He added: “That win was probably our best of the season but Leeds will be looking to get their own back.

“They had a good win on Saturday – 4-1 against Peterborough – so we have to be on our toes.

“Any team that Neil Warnock manages is going to be wound up and up for it, so we have to make sure we continue to play as well as we have been and get the points.”

Boss Holloway gave his players yesterday off after their efforts at the City Ground, where they had to work hard for a share of the spoils. It wasn’t quite the result the manager wanted but he was pleased with his team’s battling qualities.

Holloway said: “Ideally I’d have liked a win but it is a good, solid point and another clean sheet. I am sure we will play with a lot more urgency against Leeds. My team know what I want them to do. We have talked about it.

“I wanted three wins from the last four. That would have definitely been enough to get in the play-offs.

“We have missed a chance at Forest and now these two home matches are important because the last thing we want is to go to Millwall for the final game needing to win.”

Kevin Phillips will have a fitness test on a hip problem but is expected to be OK for the Leeds game. The suspended Keith Southern will again miss out.