Blackpool boss provides injury update on Sheffield Wednesday loanee and ex-Charlton Athletic man ahead of huge Barnsley clash

George Byers was forced off through injury against CarlisleGeorge Byers was forced off through injury against Carlisle
George Byers was forced off through injury against Carlisle
Blackpool boss Neil Critchley states it’s still “touch and go” surrounding the availability of a couple of players ahead of this weekend’s huge clash against Barnsley at Bloomfield Road.

During the first half of last Saturday’s 1-0 victory over Carlisle United, George Byers was forced off through a groin injury and replaced by Albie Morgan- who went down holding his knee in the latter stages of the game in only his second outing since returning from a spell on the sidelines. Meanwhile, captain Ollie Norburn has missed the last three matches due to a swollen ankle, with his last appearance being the Easter Monday stalemate against Wycombe Wanderers.

The Seasiders’ play-off hopes remain alive for now, but they can’t afford any slip-ups in their remaining two games, as well as needing other results to go their way. Their opponents this weekend currently sit five points above, but are without a win in their last four games. Elsewhere, Oxford United and Lincoln City are also in the battle for the top six, and face Stevenage and Cheltenham Town respectively in their penultimate fixtures.

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Discussing his squad options, Critchley said: “George (Byers) is better, we’ll give him as long as possible, we need to get the balance right between giving him enough time to let the problem settle down and giving him every chance to play in an important game. He wants to play, but we have to make sure that he completes enough things in training.

"Albie (Morgan) took a whack on his knee, so that was swollen and bruised, but no ligament damage- which we feared at the time. We’ll give both of them as long as possible to make a call on them.

“I’m confident they’ll both play again this season, and I’m hoping that’s against Barnsley, but we’ve not taken that call yet. Neither are serious, but are touch and go. At this stage, it’s when you take a calculated risk or gamble; that’s not to say we’d ever put a player at risk. Both are desperate to be involved.

"We hope Norbs (Ollie Norburn) will be fit enough to return to the squad, he’s trained this week. His ankle has been swollen and he’s had some discomfort, but he’s been desperate to be involved again. He always puts himself on the training pitch; sometimes not for his own good. He’s felt better this week, so we’re hopeful that he'll be in contention for the squad.”

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