Key pair injured for Blackpool match

Mark Cullen

Mark Cullen

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Blackpool go into today’s home clash with Port Vale without two key players.

Mark Cullen and Clark Robertson have both been ruled out with injury, a real blow for manager Neil McDonald.

The pair have been almost ever-presents and limped out of last Saturday’s defeat at Burton.

McDonald confirmed: “Mark Cullen has a tight hamstring, so he’ll miss the game as will Clark Robertson.

“Clark has hurt his knee and that’s two big misses for us.

“Every team has to deal with injuries and we’ve lost two of our better players.

“The ones who come in have to stand up and be counted and perform.”

It leaves McDonald’s already depleted squad even weaker, though the signings of Danny Philliskirk and winger Mark Yeates at least give the manager some options.

It’s a good job too, with Jack Redshaw and Martin Paterson both injured, while Elliot Lee has returned to parent club West Ham.

Pool have only Andy Little and Philliskirk available up front today but McDonald is remaining positive.

He said: “Andy Little has signed an extension to his loan deal, which is great news.

“We’ll try to take him to another level now. He’s getting better with match fitness now and is starting to create chances.

“If we can just get him more games and consistency, then I’m sure he will score goals for us.

“Redshaw is getting closer to a return now. Whether Saturday comes a little too soon for him I’m not sure. Paterson will probably be another week.”

Pool face Rob Page’s Port Vale for the third time this season, having won in the Potteries in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy and lost there in the league in November.

McDonald is only too aware of Vale’s quality. He said: “They are a team not to be underestimated. They have some really good players and are a tough team to beat.

“They got the better of us in the league, so we are after a little bit of revenge.”

Today’s game is the first of four at Bloomfield Road this month and McDonald believes these home games offer a vital chance to pick up points – Pool have lost just one of their last eight on home soil.

“Our home performances have been really good,” he added. “We lost the first three at home but since then we’ve only had one bad game against Doncaster.

“I’ve been really pleased with the home form and hopefully we can continue it.

“There’s pressure on us all at the moment but it’s nothing some wins won’t solve.

“A couple of wins would make everyone feel a whole lot better.”