Blackpool boss looks for his players to maintain home rule against AFC Wimbledon
Blackpool will be looking to continue their exemplary home form when they welcome League One strugglers AFC Wimbledon to their Bloomfield Road fortress today.
Tuesday night’s 1-1 draw against Crewe Alexandra means Neil Critchley’s side are now 10 games unbeaten on home turf, a run that stretches back to last October.
With impressive recent wins on the road against Portsmouth and Charlton Athletic, the Seasiders will haul themselves into the mix for the play-offs if they’re able to capitalise on their games in hand.
With 11 of Blackpool’s remaining 18 games coming at Bloomfield Road, that gives the men in tangerine a major advantage in their bid to cut the gap to the top six
Critchley isn’t quite sure why Blackpool’s home form has been so impressive given they continue to play their games behind closed doors, but he admits it’s going to prove vital if they’re to launch a genuine promotion challenge.
“We don’t approach games any differently, but perhaps the opposition alter their approach,” Critchley said.
“The psychology of playing home and away is slightly different and maybe that plays into our hands a little bit.
“We’re confident at home, we’ve had a good record there in recent months – although some of our games have been called off – but we want it to continue.
“When teams come to Blackpool, we want them to know they’ll have to play really well to get anything from the game.
“That’s what we’re creating at the moment and we want it to continue.
“It’s a big help going into your home games knowing you’ve got a really good chance of winning and we want our home form to be a big advantage for us between now and the end of the season.”
Given Blackpool’s recent form in winning five of their last seven games, they’ve been tipped as dark horses by some observers to make a late push for the League One play-offs.
The Seasiders are 13th and eight points off the top six as it stands, but have four games in hand on a number of sides above them.
“I’d rather be sitting at the top of the league,” Critchley said, when asked about them being tipped as outsiders.
“I think there are a lot of good teams in this division. I’ve said it for a long time, and I wouldn’t say I called the league early, but I’ve watched a lot of games in this division and I know there’s very little between the teams.
“There are some really good teams in this division with good players who are well coached.
“You have to be there in every facet in every game. Mentally, physically and tactically, you have to be prepared.
“If you drop off the standard, then anyone can beat anyone and the results, especially in recent weeks, have proven that.
“We shall see, by the end of the season, where we end up.”
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