Blackpool manager Paul Ince admitted he had some catching up to do as he plans for next season after leaving it until the penultimate game of the season to guarantee Championship football with victory over Derby.
Ludovic Sylvestre’s stoppage-time goal proved the difference between the two sides after Blackpool had missed a penalty and seen Gary Taylor-Fletcher’s opener equalised by Ben Davies.
Taylor-Fletcher finished off Tom Ince’s pass on 18 minutes but the manager’s son then saw his penalty hit the post and Davies volleyed in an equaliser on 65 minutes.
But after seeing Sylvestre pop up at the death to win it boss Ince accepted there was plenty of work to do ahead of next season.
“I’m glad this fantastic club has managed to stay in the Championship and we can go forward next year,” he said.
“I’m a bit gutted that it’s taken us this long to salvage where we are going to be. You want to be proactive rather than reactive in your planning but we’ve had to wait until the second-last game to be safe.
“Now I will sit down with the chairman and start getting some targets. We do need fresh faces. I don’t want to dismantle the whole team, we have a fantastic core here and spirit, but I just want to add to it.
“You get the early goal, you think that’s going to settle you. You get the penalty, which for me wasn’t a penalty. You expect my son to score it so he’ll be getting no pocket money this week. Normally he scores but it just hit the inside of the post and you begin to wonder whether it is going to be your day because we know how precarious a 1-0 lead can be.”
Derby are also safe for another year but with only four league wins on the road this season after Sylvestre’s late volley from the edge of the box, manager Nigel Clough insisted his side deserved a point.
“There was nothing in the game, I thought we edged it second half and we were going to go on and win the game but we end up losing instead of getting a guaranteed point,” he said.
“We thought our performance warranted at least a point today. We just vacated the edge of the box in the last few minutes, which we are disappointed with. Out of the three centre-halves we had in the area, one of them should have been in the area where the ball was struck. But it’s a brilliant strike.
“We feared the worse with the decision that was made with the penalty because it was then continued for the next 60-odd minutes.
“The players are very angry at losing because we hate it, but also they are very angry and upset at the officials’ performance - all three of them. You start to doubt a little bit with some of the decisions that were made.”