Blackpool boss wants to face full-strength Palace

Christian Benteke
Christian Benteke
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Blackpool boss Gary Bowyer wants Crystal Palace to roll out their big guns when the sides meet in London tonight.

The Seasiders head to Selhurst Park (7.30pm) looking to cause an upset in the second round of the EFL Cup.

Some clubs use the competition as a means of assessing younger players but Bowyer wants to face a full-strength Premier League side tonight, including Christian Benteke.

He said: “I hope they do (select their new signing from Liverpool) because I’ll learn more about our lads playing against him.

“I hope Palace go as strong as they can as it will be a great experience for our lads and we will learn loads.

“We’re really looking forward to it. It will be a fabulous opportunity for our lads to pit themselves against Premier League players.

“We are the massive underdogs but we have an opportunity to grab the headlines because if Crystal Palace win, then that’s the norm.”

Palace are seeking a morale-boosting victory after losing both this season’s games 1-0. That was the score when the clubs last met in April 2013, when Matt Phillips’ late goal gave Pool a Championship win at Bloomfield Road.

The journey both sides have been on since is best summed up by their latest transfer activity.

Palace smashed their club record to sign Belgian striker Benteke for an inital £27m – a fee that could eventually rise to £32m. In contrast, Bowyer brought in Armand Gnanduillet from Leyton Orient last Friday.

The French striker came on midway through the second half of the following day’s goalless home draw with Wycombe.

With injuries decimating Bowyer’s attacking options, the powerful Gnanduillet at least offers something different, with Mark Cullen the only senior striker available last weekend. “The big lad hasn’t trained with us,” Bowyer said of his new arrival after his debut.

“He’s still getting to know the lads but we’re still getting to know each other.

“Kyle Vassell and Jamille Matt have that (presence), but when they are out of the team through injury it leaves us a little bit short.

“Armand is only going to get better and I thought he showed some nice touches.”