Blackpool boss had confidence his Fleetwood Town counterpart would improve their fortunes

Neil Critchley always felt it was only a matter of time until his Blackpool predecessor Simon Grayson turned things around at Fleetwood Town.

Friday, 12th March 2021, 4:45 pm

Grayson returns to Bloomfield Road for the first time tomorrow since his axing last year.

The 51-year-old, now in charge of Pool’s Fylde coast neighbours, has overseen a three-game winning run at Highbury.

That’s seen the Cod Army rise back up the table after suffering a mid-season slump, winning just once in 14 games between November 27 and February 6.

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Simon Grayson returns to Bloomfield Road with Fleetwood Town tomorrow Picture: Stephen Buckley/PRiME Media Images Limited

“Maybe it took them a few games to get used to a new style of football, it can always take a bit of time for a manager to implement his ideas on a playing squad,” Critchley said.

“You can see the effect he’s had because they’ve won their last three games, so they’re full of confidence and they come here in form.

“With us beating them earlier in the season, they’ll be looking to try and avenge that on Saturday.

“You look at Simon’s managerial record and the success he’s had, he’s obviously very good at what he does.

“I think Fleetwood have got a good set of players. They had a little dip, as most teams have done in the division, but they’ve now come through that and they’ve got plenty of games to go, so I’m sure they’re looking upwards.

“It’s up to us to make sure we stop their good run of form.”

Blackpool will be out to complete a league double over their neighbours, having claimed a 1-0 win at Highbury earlier in the season.

“It’s a really good game to look forward to,” Critchley added.

“I always have that picture in my head of my first game in charge, which was at Fleetwood.

“I walked out and the ground was full and the Blackpool supporters filled the away end in one corner of the ground.

“It would be great to sample that type of atmosphere again with two teams who are in good form.

“It will be a shame, but we’ve got a job to do. It will be different because of the atmosphere, but that doesn’t mean it will be any less different on the pitch.

“The players will be giving everything to try and get a positive result.”

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