Blackpool boss Neil Critchley plays down confidence concerns over Arsenal loanee
Neil Critchley has played down suggestions goalless Tyreece John-Jules is currently lacking in confidence.
The forward has yet to get off the mark for the Seasiders, despite already featuring in 12 games in all competitions this season.
The 20-year-old, who is on loan at Bloomfield Road from Arsenal, didn’t enjoy his best game during the weekend defeat to Nottingham Forest.
While John-Jules has yet to find the mark, Critchley remains pleased with the England Under-21 international’s displays.
“I wouldn’t say he’s low on confidence,” Pool’s head coach told The Gazette.
“Like any forward, he’s desperate to score. But he contributes in other ways and we saw some of the good stuff he did on Saturday.
“Tyreece wants to score, he can’t hide behind that. But he’s a young player trying to find his way in the Championship and I think he’s contributed a lot this season.
“He’s improved in every game and his confidence will doubt improve further if he scores, but I keep reminding him it’s not just about what he does in front of goal, it’s about his all-round contribution.”
One man who certainly shouldn’t be low on confidence is Jerry Yates, who has now scored two in his last two games.
Like John-Jules, Yates had to endure a difficult start to the campaign, waiting 10 games to score his first goal from open play.
On Yates’ return to form, Critchley said: “It’s given him a massive lift, so I’m delighted.
“That was another positive to take from the game on Saturday that Jerry got his goal, particularly the way the goal came about as well.
“It was a fantastic finish, a real goalscorer’s goal if you like because it was instinct and a great connection.
“He’s got two in two now, so hopefully he follows a similar pattern to what he followed last year in League One. If he does, he’ll go on a really good run.”
Since returning to the starting XI Yates has been partnered with Gary Madine, spelling the return of a combination that proved very effective in League One last term.
“Jerry and Gary formed a really strong partnership last season, they know each other’s games well and complement each other well,” Critchley added.
“Gary attracts a lot of physical attention and that can provide space for Jerry to work in.
“But we’ve got other options as well. Tyreece can play off Gary or Jerry, Sonny Carey came on and made his league debut which was a great moment for him.
“He’s been champing at the bit to get going. He’s trained ever so well, so he deserved that moment on Saturday.
“We’re hopeful Shayne will return at some point, so we’ve got good options at that end of the pitch. There’s also Josh Bowler and Demi Mitchell in the wide areas, Keshi Anderson to come back.
“We’ve got a strong squad with good options, so picking the right team against the opposition is really important.”
Madine has now enjoyed a strong run of games, six in total, for the first time since the beginning of the calendar year.
Up until now, the 31-year-old had endured a nightmare 2021, suffering with a niggling groin injury that has seen him miss large chunks of football.
“I was never concerned about Gary, because we knew his injury, the type of injury and I look at Gary and I see he’s still got that fire inside,” Critchley said.
“He wants to prove himself, particularly in the Championship because he feels this is his stage.
“He was desperate to come back and help the team and he’s made a big impact on the games for us so far.
“We’re delighted to have him back and we’re hoping he stays injury free between now and the end of the season because he makes a big difference.”
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