Blackpool could be handed potential fitness boost for midweek clash against play-off rivals Sunderland

Neil Critchley has revealed Blackpool could be handed a potential fitness boost for tomorrow night's pivotal encounter against Sunderland.

Monday, 26th April 2021, 12:48 pm

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Everybody needs to stick together says Blackpool boss Neil Critchley

Should Kevin Stewart come through this afternoon's training session, the midfielder could feature on his return from an ankle injury.

The 27-year-old has been sidelined since March 13, when he suffered the knock during the goalless draw against Fleetwood Town, and has missed the following 11 games as a result.

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Elsewhere, Daniel Gretarsson, Matty Virtue, Keshi Anderson, CJ Hamilton and Gary Madine remain sidelined through injury, while Bez Lubala is still unavailable due to a 'club matter'.

Elliot Embleton is also ineligible to face his parent club at the Stadium of Light on Tuesday night.

Speaking this morning, Critchley said: “Elliot obviously can’t play in this game, so he’ll be out.

“We’re hoping that Kevin Stewart might be involved if he trains this afternoon and he’s okay. He could possibly come back into the squad.

Neil Critchley's side could be boosted by the return of Kevin Stewart at Sunderland

“Other than that, it’ll be as it was on Saturday.”

With just four games remaining, the Seasiders remain in the play-offs.

But their points gap to Portsmouth in seventh has been wiped out after suffering back-to-back defeats against Rochdale and Shrewsbury Town respectively.

But Critchley insists his side aren't feeling the pressure and will approach this challenge head on, starting with Sunderland tomorrow night.

“I just see it as an exciting chance to pit your wits in these types of games, this is what you’re in football for," Pool's head coach said.

“This is why you play the game, because you want to test yourself in testing moments and have challenges.

“These next four games are going to be a challenge, but I will learn a lot about the players, about myself and the staff. We’ll learn a lot about each other.

“I just see it is an opportunity for us to grow as a group and improve, hopefully we can do that by picking up good results along the way and getting to where we want to get by the end of the season.

“After you lose a game there’s anger, frustration and you have to go away, watch the game back, speak to the staff and filter all that information and decide what you think is required to help the team learn moving forward.

“We need to learn quickly from what’s happened because we haven’t got much time, it’s only four games.

“We need to change it around as quickly as possible, but we’re not in sudden death yet and we won’t be after Tuesday night either.

“We keep moving, we keep going. Against Sunderland we’ve got to fight, we’ve got to show energy and passion and play our football as well.”

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