Blackpool boss Simon Grayson warns his players against any drop in standards
The Seasiders are currently brimming with confidence as they enter today’s League One clash against struggling AFC Wimbledon on the back of three straight wins.
But Grayson has warned against complacency setting in, telling his players they must go above and beyond every single day to keep their place in the team.
“It has to be that way right through the course of the season,” the Blackpool boss said.
“If people come into the team and don’t do what they’re capable of doing then they won’t be in this team and they’ll be looking for a club elsewhere.
“We’ve got high standards that we want our players to achieve, we want people to play with a smile on their face and enjoy themselves – but they also have to realise there are high standards.
“If you look at certain players that have come into the team over the last few weeks, they’ve done a good job.
“James Husband is an example, going from left wing-back to left-sided centre-back, and he kept Curtis Tilt out of the team last weekend.
“Everybody knows they have to be on it every time they put on a tangerine coloured shirt or turn up for training every day.”
Competition for places is certainly high at the minute, with regular first-teamers Tilt and Jordan Thompson only on the bench for last weekend’s 4-1 FA Cup win against Morecambe.
Grayson says that, regardless of reputation or past form, no player is guaranteed a starting role.
“Nobody can take anything for granted that they will be the first choice on the teamsheet, whether they’ve played 100 games or two games,” he added.
“You’ve got to do things on a regular basis. When you get into the team, make sure you do whatever is required to stay there.
“Don’t settle for what got you into the team in the first place, go above and beyond and make sure you’re the best player in training every day and on matchdays.
“If you do that, that makes my job a lot easier and you’ve got a better chance of staying in the team.”
The Seasiders will be without Thompson this afternoon with the midfielder on international duty with Northern Ireland.
Rocky Bushiri and Christoffer Mafoumbi are also away with Belgium Under-21s and Congo respectively.
With three players unavailable due to international call-ups, Pool could technically have requested their game be called off.
But Grayson says that was never a consideration, with the Seasiders keen to build upon their recent upturn in form.
“With Chris away with his international team we could have had that opportunity,” the Pool boss said.
“Whether he fitted into that category given he’s not been on the bench, I don’t know, but I didn’t really ask the question anyway because I just wanted the game on.
“Whether that could have been different had we had some injuries or stuff like that, who knows?
“But we want to build on our momentum and try and win another game.”