Blackpool goalscorer Ellis Simms learning tough lessons says boss Neil Critchley

Neil Critchley says Ellis Simms is still getting used to the physical rigours of playing regularly in League One.

By Matt Scrafton
Monday, 8th March 2021, 8:00 am

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It comes after the Everton loanee scored his first goal at Bloomfield Road in Saturday’s 1-1 draw with AFC Wimbledon.

Despite putting his side in front, the 20-year-old was withdrawn with 20 minutes still left to play.

Ellis Simms battles for the ball with Wimbledon's Darnell Johnson during Saturday's drawn game at Bloomfield Road

But Simms, whose loan spell on the Fylde coast is his first experience of senior football, is still getting up to speed with the demands of playing Saturday-Tuesday-Saturday.

Head coach Critchley said: “He’s a young player, he’s leading the line and him and Jerry (Yates) put themselves about with a physical presence.

“I think that was his fifth start and physically it’s taken a lot out of him playing so many games in such a short period of time. But he’s got to get used to that.

“Nevertheless, it was a great moment for him and I’m delighted he got that goal at Bloomfield Road. That’s the sort of typical goal he scores. He’s a poacher, he’s a penalty box player. “

In the absence of Gary Madine, Simms has perhaps had to play more football than initially anticipated.

Madine was missing from Blackpool’s squad for the seventh game running as he battles a niggling groin complaint.

The striker was conspicuous by his absence from the post-match warm-down on Saturday, which involved all of Pool’s senior players who were not in the starting XI. It suggested the striker may be further away from a return than first expected.

Critchley said of Madine: “He’s been back out on the grass running and doing more ball work. We’re hopeful he might be able to join in training some time next week.

“He was training and doing a bit more fitness work on Saturday. I’ve not spoken to the staff (to see how he is) yet but it’s something I’ll do.”

Elsewhere, there was more encouraging news regarding CJ Hamilton, who started the game and lasted over an hour as he stepped up his return from a serious hamstring injury.

The winger, who had been sidelined since December 19, made his comeback off the bench in last Tuesday’s draw against Crewe Alexandra.

Critchley added: “We want him back and we decided to start him on Saturday.

“The longer the game goes on and the longer he stays on, that’s where you get more of a risk of CJ suffering another injury.

“We want him as fit as possible so he’s able to play 90 minutes on a consistent basis.

“But we might just have to ease him back into that so he gets to the stage where he can play every game.”

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