Blackpool boss eases injury worries over goal hero Cullen

Mark Cullen celebrates his goal with Andy Taylor
Mark Cullen celebrates his goal with Andy Taylor
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Blackpool boss Gary Bowyer said his only fully fit striker Mark Cullen had nothing more than cramp when he limped off in the 1-1 draw at Barnet, having netted his first goal of the season.

Cullen was brought into the starting line-up after fellow frontman Kyle Vassell felt a recurrence of a thigh injury.

But after scoring a sublime right-footed curler to open the scoring at the Bees’ Hive ground in north London, Cullen was brought off with 10 minutes to go and could only watch as Barnet’s John Akinde equalised in stoppage time.

Bowyer stressed Cullen is still easing his way back after a hamstring injury sustained late last season.

The Blackpool boss is concerned over Colin Daniel’s fitness – the midfielder was forced off with a knee knock last night – but he hopes Vassell will be fit enough to feature at home to Wycombe on Saturday.

Bowyer said: “We forget that before I arrived Mark had to miss the last month or so, maybe longer, of last season.

“In pre-season he picked up an ankle injury, so he missed a couple more weeks.

“He has probably been out of action for a couple of months. He ran himself into the ground and came off with cramp.

“We will assess Colin Daniel too. He just got a bang to his knee and he has felt something in his knee. We will see in the morning.

“With Vassell it’s the knock he picked up at Exeter. He did well to play on Saturday at Morecambe but he just felt it in training on Monday. We hope he is ready for Saturday.”

Bowyer rued his side’s missed opportunities after Cullen’s 23rd-minute opener.

Akinde made them pay at the death and the Pool boss says his men need to be more clinical at one end and to shut up shop at the other.

He said: “We scored a wonderful goal. We knew as the game went on that we needed to kill them off.

“We had opportunities too but we also knew that the ball would keep getting thrown into our box.

“It was like a scene out of Land of the Giants towards the end but we knew that was going to come and we had to deal with that.

“I think there are one or two headache tablets being issued now because the back four and the two centre midfielders in front of them had to deal with a lot of balls into the box. But that is their job. That is what they are expected to do and are paid to do.

“We did have opportunities but it is those fine margins at the moment. We can’t quite seem to get across the line in both boxes.

“That is something we need to work on, but in terms of the progress we have made so quickly in the last six or seven weeks, I’m pleased with the performance. We’ve just got to do better at those fine margins now.”