Squad’s improved since opening game – McDonald

Blackpool manager Neil McDonald

Blackpool manager Neil McDonald

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Neil McDonald insists Colchester are facing a totally different Blackpool side today than the one they met on the opening day of the season.

Just five of the starting XI which drew 2-2 back in August played in Pool’s win against Southend last weekend.

It shows the amount of work McDonald has done at Bloomfield Road.

“It has been a rebuilding job all the way, we started from scratch and had ten debutants in that first game of the season,” McDonald said.

“We’ve tried to progress and improve the squad all the way along and hopefully we’ve made it strong enough to make sure we get the results in the remaining games of the season.

“We took the lead twice (in the previous game at Colchester) with two really good goals from Mark Cullen and we played some really good football.”

Blackpool are looking to extend their unbeaten run to five this afternoon, and keep their 15th clean sheet in the process.

He said: “It’s great for the whole team. The back five have been magnificent at the moment and young Luke Higham has come into the team and adjusted really well.

“The rest of the back four have a good understanding at the moment and they’re working really hard to keep the back door shut.”

Things are tightening up at the bottom of League One, and defeat this afternoon could see Pool drop into the relegation zone.

McDonald said: “We seem to have dealt with the teams around us very well, certainly Crewe and Doncaster, and we’ve beaten a really good team in Southend last weekend.”

Kevin Keen’s Colchester side arrive at Bloomfield Road in similar form themselves following two wins and a draw.

And Pool’s boss knows his side are in for a tough test. He said: “They’re in good spirits themselves, they’ve had a few good results over the last few weeks and they’re battling for their lives as well.”