Gary Bowyer has demanded an instant response from his Blackpool players during this Easter weekend’s double header.
The Seasiders’ disappointing 3-1 home defeat against Grimsby Town on Saturday condemned Bowyer’s side to their first back-to-back defeats of the season, having failed to pick up any points from their trip to Luton Town seven days earlier.
Pool now face Accrington Stanley at Bloomfield Road on Friday before making the trip to promoted League Two leaders Doncaster Rovers next Monday in what is make or break time for the Tangerines in their bid for a top-seven finish.
Bowyer insists it’s still all to play for but his immediate focus is on seeing how his players react to their setback.
The Pool boss said: “Results were kind to us over the weekend, so we’re still in there with a chance (two points outside the play-off zone in eighth place).
“But now I’m really going to see the character of my players going forwards.
“We’ve still got plenty to play for but we need a reaction and the players have got that opportunity to get themselves in the team for Friday.
“There are five enormous games left now. We’ve said it all season but the next game is the most important one and that’s the same now.
“We’re going to carry on. Obviously we’re disappointed, we’re frustrated and we’re angry with the performance but we’re not hiding from it.
“What we do know is that we’ve got a game on Friday, which is a local derby, and we’ve got to be better.
“We’ve got the opportunity this week to put it right in training and to have a good go on Friday.”
Bowyer pulled no punches in his post-match assessment of the Grimsby defeat, with the Pool boss lamenting his side’s defending and claiming it was “embarrassing”.
All three goals were avoidable and Bowyer said Grimsby didn’t have to “work too hard” for their win.
With just five league games remaining and the race for play-off places hotting up, Bowyer says his players must take responsibility.
He added: “If there’s one positive from the defeat it’s that before I got in the dressing room the players were holding their own meeting.
“They were digging one or two out and it was good to see.
“They were putting demands on each other and they weren’t accepting what we had just produced.
“When you’ve got that as a platform to build on for the rest of the week, that gives me a bit of confidence and a little bit of positivity.
“The mindset stays the same and we’ve got five games left, so we just have to win as many of them as we can.
“But we can’t produce defensive errors like we did against Grimsby.”