Appleton reveals main January hope

The state of the Bloomfield Road pitch against Hull
The state of the Bloomfield Road pitch against Hull
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MICHAEL Appleton has identified his number one January transfer target – a new pitch.

The Blackpool boss watched his side draw 0-0 with high-flying Hull on a shocker of a Bloomfield Road pitch yesterday.

The surface was heavily cut up and ruined what should have been an open and attacking game.

And while Appleton didn’t want to make excuses, he thinks the problem was there for everyone to see.

The Pool boss said: “If there was one signing I could have in the transfer window, it would be a new pitch ... but I’m not sure I’m going to get that. It’s out of my control.

“You can hear a few moans and groans in the crowd because a passage of play has broken down, but it’s impossible to play unless the pitch changes.

“We’ll try our best but the pitch makes it so difficult.

“I don’t want to be making excuses but the ball is bouncing like a Shane Warne delivery. It can make the best players look embarrassing at times.”

Blackpool were restricted to a handful of chances in a scrappy encounter which left Pool in the bottom half of the Championship table. Tom Ince came closest with a late curling effort.

Appleton added: “Brucey (Hull boss Steve Bruce) will probably say the same, but the surface made it so difficult to play.

“It’s not an excuse, it’s there for everyone to see. I know the opposition weren’t happy about the surface, but they only have to play on it once a season. It makes it so difficult to pass the ball.

“It’s a big concern that players are losing their footing and getting caught on the ball. I’m worried it’s going to cause a few injuries.”

After Saturday’s 4-2 defeat against Middlesbrough, Pool were desperate to tighten things up at the back.

So a clean sheet against one of the division’s form sides was a big plus on an otherwise forgettable afternoon.

Appleton said: “I think I have to be pleased with a point. When you weigh up the game, there weren’t a lot of chances and it was scrappy.

“Both sides tried to play but it was obviously a shocking surface.

“It’s good to keep a clean sheet. I thought we looked very solid against a side who had won five of their last six games.

“They are riding high and we never really looked like conceding, so that was pleasing.

“I think it was just one of those afternoons – I can’t remember a clear-cut chance for either team.”

Pool’s supporters showed signs of frustration after a game which lacked any real attacking flair.

But Appleton says it’s something they’ll have to get used to unless drastic action is taken at Bloomfield Road.

“If the pitch doesn’t change, then my answer to everyone will be to get used to it as that’s what it’s going to be like. There won’t be free-flowing football and chance after chance. It’s impossible to play on.”