Riga’s warning to Pool players

Blackpool boss Jose Riga
Blackpool boss Jose Riga
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Jose Riga has warned his players not to expect a place in his starting 11, no matter how well they are playing.

The Blackpool boss surprised many by leaving Nile Ranger out of his squad for the draw at Middlesbrough on Tuesday, when he also dropped Francois Zoko to the bench.

Striker Ranger swore on Twitter, apparently in frustration at being left out.

But Riga warned that no-one’s position is safe for tomorrow’s home game against Cardiff, not even those who were involved in the impressive display at the Riverside.

The Pool boss said: “I’m the manager and I’m paid to make choices about the squad.

“With the number of games we have to play this week, I wanted to use all of the squad.

“I have looked at the opponents and picked my squad based on the opposition.

“I chose to base my team selection on Tuesday on more technical skills as I knew Middlesbrough would play like that.

“Norwich were a much more powerful side, so I chose different players for that game.

“I know all my players much better now and what suits them. Friday night could be a different one again.”

Asked whether he was aware of Ranger’s tweet,Riga replied: “No, I just take my decision because that is my job.”

Pool gave arguably their best performance of the season on Teesside, where the result could have been even better had David Perkins’ 18-yard effort not rebounded off the post.

Riga is now hoping the confidence from that game can be taken into tomorrow’s.

He added: “We knew the three games this week would be difficult and it doesn’t get any easier against Cardiff.

“Against Norwich I thought we did really well but Tuesday has given us confidence.

“We just have to stay in the same mindset now and anything can happen.”

Despite Tuesday’s encouraging display, Pool remain bottom of the Championship without a win from 10 games and supporter protests are anticipated at tomorrow’s match.