Striker shortage as GTF out for season

Blackpool's Gary Taylor-Fletcher lies injured on the pitch at Birmingham.

Blackpool's Gary Taylor-Fletcher lies injured on the pitch at Birmingham.

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The Blackpool striker limped off during the first half of Tuesday’s draw at Birmingham with what was originally believed to be a trapped nerve.

However, a scan has revealed a torn hamstring which could keep Taylor-Fletcher out for eight weeks.

It leaves the Seasiders again short in attack for tomorrow’s game away to second-placed Watford.

Manager Paul Ince says it just about sums up the club’s luck at the moment.

“Gary’s done his hamstring,” Ince said. “He’ll be out for six to eight weeks, which is disappointing.

“When he came off the other night I had a chat with him and he didn’t feel too bad. It looked quite innocuous.

“He said he felt a stretch in his leg, but he just thought he’d damaged a nerve or something.

“Then I came in yesterday to find out he’s likely to miss the rest of the season. We are down to bare bones at the moment.

“I’ve had to bring young James Caton into the squad for tomorrow, so that shows where we are in terms of forwards.

“Fletch can play in several positions and played so well on Tuesday, so it’s not great.”

The 31-year-old was recalled to the starting 11 after being dropped for the previous game against Bristol City. And he was Pool’s best player in midweek until he picked up the injury after an hour.

Ince added: “It’s a big blow. He can play on the left, right and down the middle. You can play him all around the park.

“He’s also great around the changing room, so to lose a massive figure like him is a massive disappointment.”

Pool thought they had solved their striker shortage on Tuesday with the signing of Marko Futacs on loan from Leicester.

But following Taylor-Fletcher’s injury, Ince will once again turn to the transfer market.

“With Fletcher now out we might have to look at bringing in a striker again,” he said.

“There aren’t many options about, though. We’ve been trying all over the place to find someone who has the experience of putting the ball into the net.

“The only other option is to go into Premier League development squads and they are all 18 and 19-year-old kids. It’s a tough one.”

Blackpool made the long trip south today, hoping to record their first win under Ince at the fifth attempt.

They have drawn the previous three but Ince is confident, despite Watford’s league position.

He said: “On our day we can beat anyone. We aren’t scared of anyone.

“Watford are a nice team, who play football the right way, but on a proper pitch so will we, so it should be an entertaining game.”

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