Grayson set to raid loan market

THE Seasiders dressing room has become a casualty ward.

Six players are injured, three potentially seriously, and Simon Grayson is readying himself to plunge back into the transfer market to bring in reinforcements.

Today's top sport

Ipswich 2-1 Blackpool (audio/gallery)

Mitchley continues goal-scoring run

Magilton: Seasiders gave us a late scare

Happy to lose 2-1 says the manager

Michael Jackson is looking at more than a month on the sidelines after pulling his hamstring, and Ian Evatt has suffered back and hamstring injuries and is also likely to be out for a while.

Gary Taylor-Fletcher, Stuart Green and Paul Dickov all limped away from the wreckage of bruising 2-1 defeat at Ipswich's Portman Road and are facing a race against time to be fit for this weekend's home clash with promotion-chasers Charlton.

Add to the list left-back Stephen Crainey, who will have a scan on the shin injury that kept him out on Saturday, and Blackpool suddenly have something of a crisis.

Just a few days ago Grayson said that he was happy with his squad and had no plans to use the loan market.

But the rash of injuries – especially to three defenders – will force his hand and he'll spend the next few days scouring the list of available players.

"I said I'd go back into the loan market if I needed to and this could force my hand," admitted the manager.

"I'm not going to be daft enough to say I'm not going to get anyone in because we might have two centre halves out for quite a while.


"We'll assess everybody in the next few days and see who is fit and who is going to be out for some time.

"If I do need to go out and get someone in on loan, then we have to make sure we get the right people into the club who will make us better."

Pool were already down on numbers going into the game at Ipswich with Crainey ruled out after failing a late fitness test.

"Stephen got a knock on his shin last Tuesday when we played Wolves," said the manager.

"We thought he might be OK and he travelled to Ipswich with us and tried to train on the Friday and on the morning of the game, but he just wasn't fit enough. He is another one that we will have scanned early this week."

That meant a first Blackpool league start of the season for John Hills, who last played in a league game for the Seasiders on April 19 2003, in his previous spell with the club.

But Grayson's woes were only just beginning. Within half an hour of the kick-off he had lost both centre halves as Ian Evatt and Michael Jackson limped off – and by the end of the game had a whole load more injuries.

"Ian Evatt has a problem with a joint which is related to his hamstring. He had the problem earlier in the year," added Grayson.

"We don't think he will be as serious as Jacko, who has probably pulled his hamstring. We'll get them both scanned and see where we are.

"But there are three other players who left the stadium with ice packs on their legs.

"Gary Taylor-Fletcher, Stuart Green and Paul Dickov all picked up injuries so it was a bad day all round.

"I am hoping that some of them are just niggles and we can get the majority of them back for the weekend."

Grayson admitted that he couldn't believe what he was watching when both his centre backs left the pitch in quick succession.

"I have never been involved in a game where a team has lost its two centre backs," said the boss, who had to pair Shaun Barker with midfielder Keith Southern at the heart of the defence.

"It was just one of those unique things and hopefully it won't happen for a long, long time again.

"It did make it almost mission impossible. It was like playing with ten men at times because we just looked a little bit disorganised and I had to check the players at half-time because I thought we only had 10 out there. I was a bit surprised to find it was still 11 v 11!

"It was rank bad luck and I am just glad we have got Kaspars back from suspension for next week's game or else we'd really be in trouble."