Back-to-back league defeats for Blackpool but Terry McPhillips doesn't cancel Christmas

Blackpool boss Terry McPhillips has retained his festive cheer despite back-to-back League One defeats by giving his players Christmas Day off.

Sunday, 23rd December 2018, 12:01 pm
Updated Tuesday, 8th January 2019, 4:57 pm
Ben Heneghan applauds the supporters after the Barnsley game

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Despite the under-par display, McPhillips believes it’s only right his players stay with their loved ones tomorrow rather than training.

When asked if the players will be in on Christmas Day, McPhillips said: “No, we just decided.

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“Some (clubs) have them in, some don’t have them in, some have them in early, some have them in and train them on the pitch and bring their kids in with them and make it a bit of fun, but we can’t do tha – not on our pitch.

“So we’ve decided to take that away from the players’ hands and make our own choice. We’re in on Sunday and we’re in Christmas Eve but we’re off Christmas Day.”

Cameron McGeehan’s second-half header proved to be the difference against Barnsley in what was a lethargic display from the Seasiders.

That could have been something to do with the players’ efforts in midweek, when Pool needed extra-time to overcome Solihull Moors in their FA Cup replay.

McPhillips’ side experienced a similar situation at the start of November, going down to a surprise 3-0 defeat against Bristol Rovers just three days after taking Arsenal all the way in the Carabao Cup.

“I’m not having it myself,” McPhillips said, when it was put to him that tiredness may have been a factor in Pool’s defeat on Saturday.

“I think we did the travelling and all that after Arsenal, so I’m not going to use that as an excuse.

“There were a few who weren’t up to the usual standard, hence we didn’t do as well as we can do.”

Pool will now be looking to get back to winning ways away at Rochdale on Boxing Day as they look to claw back some points on the top six in League One.

Following Saturday’s defeat, the Seasiders are now five points adrift of the Tykes, who occupy that final play-off spot.

McPhillips added: “Rochdale won away at Southend on Saturday, so that will make it harder again. But they’re all hard games, aren’t they?

“The first goal is massive in these games.

“If we had held on to a draw against Barnsley, having not played so well, we could have taken that. It’s harder to take that we’ve lost.

“But we’ll just have to take it on our chin, and go to Rochdale and try to get a win there.

“I’m not happy. We’ve lost the last two league games, so we’ve got to stop that rot otherwise we’ll be too far away to compete.

“So the next couple of games (Rochdale and AFC Wimbledon on Saturday) are massive, then it’s Sunderland at home (on New Year’s Day) and then Arsenal (in the FA Cup on January 5).”