Blackpool boss Neil Critchley on chances of Luke Garbutt and Sullay Kaikai being fit for Oxford rematch

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Both Luke Garbutt and Sullay Kaikai will be assessed before a decision is made over their availability for tonight’s play-off second leg against Oxford United.
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Kaikai missed Tuesday night’s first leg with a hamstring injury suffered during last month’s 1-0 win against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light.

Garbutt, meanwhile, started Tuesday night’s encounter at the Kassam Stadium but was forced off with a back injury early in the second half.

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Luke Garbutt was forced off early in the second half at OxfordLuke Garbutt was forced off early in the second half at Oxford
Luke Garbutt was forced off early in the second half at Oxford

While Grant Ward (calf) has been ruled out, Critchley says there’s a chance Garbutt and Kaikai could be in contention for tonight’s squad.

Pool’s head coach said: “Luke felt a little bit better on Wednesday. We’ll assess him again before the game.

“Hopefully we get better news but he did feel better on Wednesday, so fingers crossed.

“If we get that news, I know Luke will be pushing to play and if that’s the case we’ll have him involved.

“There were no other injury concerns for us.

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“Sullay was on the grass running on Wednesday, so we’re hopeful he will join in training.

“Grant Ward did some fitness work but this game might come a bit too soon for him.”

Blackpool take a commanding 3-0 lead into tonight’s decisive leg but Critchley insists the tie is far from over.

And he believes the likelihood of Oxford playing in a gung-ho manner makes them an even more threatening opponent.

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“Teams who have nothing to lose can play fearlessly because they have to go for it,” he said. “Teams like that can be very dangerous. It makes Oxford even more dangerous because the players they’ve got in their team are already very good.

“They’re attack-minded and have players with lots of quality. We scored three at Oxford, so why can’t they come to Bloomfield Road and score three? It can happen.

“Nothing but our best and nothing but us being focused on this game and ready to go at 7.45pm will be good enough.

“There was a feeling of a job well done the other night but there were certainly no over-the-top celebrations.

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“It was a feeling of, ‘Yes, we’ve managed to carry out the plan we wanted’, which obviously got us a good result but the message straight away in the dressing room was to finish the job off on Friday.”

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