Neal’s trip into the unknown

Neal Bishop

Neal Bishop

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Neal Bishop admits Blackpool’s players have faced a trip into unknown territory during the last four games.

Pool have been without their manager on match days and Paul Ince will complete his five-game stadium ban when the Seasiders return to action at Birmingham next Saturday.

And utility man Bishop admitted: “It’s been a learn-on-the-job sort of thing.

“Obviously we work on things with the manager in the week, but you can’t really replicate what you’re going to face in a game situation, so it’s been a steep learning curve but one I’m really enjoying.

“You’re always learning as a footballer and you’re certainly never too old to learn.” Even without their boss, Pool went into the international break fourth in the Championship and Bishop thinks that’s down to the superb squad Ince has assembled.

He said: “The gaffer said in pre-season that he didn’t just want good footballers, he wanted good characters and that’s what we’ve got.

“We’re well drilled on the training ground and we’re prepared for what’s coming up. We’re very focused and the lads are very well disciplined to carry out the gaffer’s instructions to the letter.

“We keep our concentration and we keep our shape.

“When you add in the match-winners we’ve got in the team, we’ve got a good mix.”