Blackpool head coach praises experienced defender's impact at Bloomfield Road

Veteran defender Richard Keogh has already proved an ‘invaluable’ asset for Blackpool, says boss Neil Critchley.

Saturday, 25th September 2021, 8:00 am

Some questioned the signing of the Republic of Ireland centre-back, who turned 35 last month.

However, Critchley always believed his experience and knowhow would be a massive boost for the Seasiders on their step up to the Championship.

Indeed, Keogh has featured in all but one of Blackpool’s eight second-tier games to date, improving steadily and giving an outstanding display in the win over Fulham a fortnight ago.

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Richard Keogh has earned the backing of Seasiders boss Neil Critchley

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Blackpool boss Neil Critchley homes in on precious points against Barnsley

Critchley said: “Keogh brings something to the group, which we don’t necessarily have in abundance, and that’s Championship experience.

“He has played over 400 Championship games, and if you look at his playing record, he plays consistently.

“He played over 40 games last season (for MK Dons and Huddersfield Town) and that tells you all you need to know about his professionalism and fitness.

“You can’t play the number of games he does year after year unless you really look after your body.

“He’s a great influence on all the others in training and on the pitch because he’s been there, seen it and done it, and that can really help you in times of adversity.”

Keogh was not at his best at the start of the campaign and Critchley says that was only to be expected.

The Pool boss added: “He came in at the back end of pre-season and had not played games, so the start of the season was like his pre-season.

“He has improved and has shown what an asset he’s going to be. He is invaluable to us.”

Keogh’s experience could give Blackpool a major boost this afternoon at home to Barnsley.

Critchley expects the Tykes to be a tough nut to crack, just like Middlesbrough were last weekend, when Pool came from behind to win 2-1.

Reflecting on his side’s latest outing, Critchley said: “Having watched it back, I think we played the better football and created more chances.

“You can’t fault our ability to bounce back from the Huddersfield game to get three points in a really tough away fixture.

“It was also a great response after going one down inside seven or eight minutes.

“They are a difficult side to play against and it wasn’t a pretty spectacle but we showed character and resilience.

“We could maybe have scored a third goal but the first three points away from home are very satisfying.”

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