Blackpool boss aims to continue the Seasiders' play-off success

Neil Critchley is hoping to add another triumphant promotion to Blackpool’s stellar play-off record.

Monday, 17th May 2021, 8:00 am

The Seasiders return to action tomorrow night as they seek a return to the Championship after a six-year absence.

Critchley’s men face Oxford United over two legs in the semi-finals, with the winners facing either Sunderland or Lincoln City at Wembley come the end of the month.

Blackpool have a play-off record to be envied with five promotions from their eight previous appearances.

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Neil Critchley takes his Blackpool squad into play-off action tomorrow
Neil Critchley takes his Blackpool squad into play-off action tomorrow

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In that time, they are the only club to have won all three divisional finals on their way to 16 victories from 23 ties.

They are unbeaten in 10 semi-final matches and have only lost one of the last 15 altogether – the 2012 Championship play-off final against West Ham United.

When asked if the current crop of players can take inspiration from Blackpool’s play-off heritage, Critchley told The Gazette: “That’s a good question.

“Maybe it gets other people thinking about it, because there must be some type of reason for it.

“No, from our side, it’s a new group of players, new staff and what has happened in the past has happened.

“We can only focus and concentrate on affecting now and in the future, but hopefully that run continues because that would be nice.”

While Critchley admits it’s difficult to draw on Pool’s glorious play-off past too much, he insists plenty can be taken from the two games they played against Oxford during the regular season.

The Seasiders were held to a goalless draw in the first meeting between the two sides at Bloomfield Road, before Critchley’s men claimed a 2-0 win at the Kassam Stadium in March – Pool’s first win at that ground.

“You can take things from the games you’ve played against each other this season, but we were speaking about this as a staff and it’s like you know that they know that they know that you know,” Critchley said.

“Sometimes you’re just best concentrating on yourself and worry about how you want to play and not worry about the opposition too much.

“There’s so much that can happen in these games that you can get yourself in a muddle by overthinking things.

“Instead, you’re sometimes better off keeping things simple, concentrating on things that we want to happen, how we want to play and approach the games etc.

“Both sets of players and staff, we know each other. Is that an advantage or a disadvantage? We shall see.”

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