Blackpool’s returning top scorer Kyle Vassell says performances are irrelevant at this stage of the season and wins are all that matter.
The Seasiders weren’t at their best in Saturday’s 2-1 win against Hartlepool United but again did what was required to grind out the win and stretch their unbeaten run to nine games.
Gary Bowyer’s men have now won five of their last six games in a run which has seen them climb back into the League Two play-off zone for the first time since December.
And it was Vassell, coming on as a substitute on his return after a month out injured, who bagged the match-winning goal with a cross that inadvertently ended up in the back of the net.
The 24-year-old striker said: “It’s a massive, massive win, especially now we’re coming up to the end of the season.
“We’re buzzing with the three points but we can’t focus on it too much as we have to go again at Luton next Saturday.
“There were times at the beginning of the season when we were battering teams but losing, so now it’s good to just be getting the points. All we care about is winning games.”
Vassell’s return came much sooner than originally anticipated after he broke his foot in the draw with Barnet on February 28.
It was initially feared he would miss most of Pool’s remaining League Two fixtures but he returned well ahead of schedule to replace Mark Cullen after 72 minutes on Saturday.
Vassell scored eight minutes later and added: “I’m delighted to be back so soon. If I’m being honest, I thought my season could have been done when I first did it.
“I felt fine on Saturday as well, which was a bonus.
“I’ve pulled my metatarsal before, when I was at Peterborough, and I was expected to be out for eight to 12 weeks then but I came back after seven.
“This time it healed really quick and really well, so I’ve been lucky with that.”
Vassell claimed the all-important goal on Saturday but it came in bizarre circumstances, with his cross missing everyone, looping over the goalkeeper and dropping into the bottom corner from the tightest of angles.
It was his 13th goal in all competitions and saw him climb back above Brad Potts as the club’s top scorer, although the midfielder has more league goals to his name.
Vassell said: “I just got in the right area at the right time and I hooked the ball back in. Fortunately it went in the back of the net. It wasn’t intentional but I’ll always claim it.
“It’s good to get back in the goals but it was an important goal as well. That makes it all the better.”
Pool’s next assignment is away to a Luton side who are sixth in League Two, below them on goal difference.