Blackpool boss explains selection calls against Wycombe Wanderers- with Brest and Sheffield Wednesday loanees dropping out

Blackpool boss Neil Critchley says changes were required to provide “freshness” for the Easter Monday game against Wycombe Wanderers.
Neil Critchley (Photographer Lee Parker / CameraSport)Neil Critchley (Photographer Lee Parker / CameraSport)
Neil Critchley (Photographer Lee Parker / CameraSport)

The fixture at Bloomfield Road finished 0-0, but both teams had late chances to win it, with Franco Ravizzoli denying both Jordan Lawrence-Gabriel and Jake Beesley in the closing stages, while Sam Vokes smashed an effort against the crossbar, shortly after missing another good opportunity.

Following the 1-0 defeat to Derby County on Good Friday, Critchley opted to make four alterations for the visit of Matt Bloomfield's side. He returned to playing two strikers up front in the form of Shayne Lavery and Kyle Joseph, which meant key man Karamoko Dembele had to settle for a place on the bench, before being introduced for the final 25 minutes.

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"The games are so close together, and we put a lot into the match against Derby physically, while emotionally it was a big one as well,” explained the Blackpool boss.

"Wycombe made six changes, and we made four. We tried to bring some energy and freshness into the team, and I thought we had that, but our quality and decision making let us down again.

"It’s unrealistic for Kaddy (Karamoko Dembele) to play every minute of every game, he’s looked a little bit tired in his last few performances. We thought the game would open up and he’d have a big influence towards the end- which he nearly did.”

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George Byers was another player who dropped out of the starting 11. The Sheffield Wednesday loanee has impressed since his move to Bloomfield Road at the beginning of February, but was behind captain Ollie Norburn and Matty Virtue for the visit of the Blues, before being introduced in the second half.

"That was just a decision I made,” Critchley added.

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"We made four changes to bring some energy and freshness into the team. If you look at the history of me here, whether we win, lose or draw, I always pick the team that I think is the right one to take to the pitch. There’ll always be opinions around the side you pick, and if you don’t win then that’s highlighted even more, but that’s the world we live in.”

The Wycombe fixture saw Sonny Carey make his second consecutive start, after initially being brought into the team for the Good Friday game away to the Rams.

"He hadn’t played for quite a while, but I felt he was excellent at Derby, so I felt it was a dilemma on whether he could go again,” Critchley explained.

"He had some moments where he threatened to look like a good player, but that’s probably the story over so many of ours at the moment. If you want to be a top player in this league or higher then you need to produce in those moments.”

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