Blackpool head coach's balancing act going into Bristol Rovers meeting

Neil Critchley will be looking to strike the right balance when he names his Blackpool side to face Bristol Rovers in their final game of the regular season on Sunday.

Saturday, 8th May 2021, 12:30 pm

There isn’t anything riding on tomorrow’s clash against Joey Barton’s already relegated side after the Seasiders booked their place in the League One play-offs on Tuesday night with a 2-0 win against Doncaster Rovers.

As a result, Pool’s head coach will look to rest some players and hand some game time to others who are in need of minutes.

At the same time, Critchley is keen to continue Pool’s momentum and claim a fourth straight victory heading into the play-offs.

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Blackpool head coach Neil Critchley
Blackpool head coach Neil Critchley

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“That’s a fine balance because we obviously want to put a strong team out to win the game, but we also have in mind certain players who have been playing Saturday-Tuesday for a considerable amount of time,” Critchley said.

“How we manage the group prior in terms of the team we pick and during the game will be important.

“It’s also about having the balance in making sure that we’ve got a strong team on the pitch to win the game.

“Will there be some changes? Yes there will, but how many and who, we’ve not quite made those decisions yet.”

The Seasiders take on a Bristol Rovers side that will finish bottom of League One unless they’re able to beat Pool and results elsewhere go their way.

The Gas were two points ahead of the relegation zone when former Fleetwood boss Barton took over in February, but they are now 10 points behind Wigan Athletic in 20th.

“A bit like us in the summer, they recruited a lot of players and for whatever reason, it’s not gone the way they would have wanted,” Critchley added.

“They’ve changed managers a few times and Joey has gone in there to make a difference to the club and it’s not going the way they would have wanted at the moment.

“But you’ve only got to look at the job Joey and his staff did at Fleetwood because they were very good when they were given time.

“I know they’ll be keen to put all the wrongs right next season and I’m sure he will, because he’s already proven in this division what he’s capable of doing.

“It will be good to see Joey and his staff on Sunday because whenever we played Fleetwood, I always enjoyed speaking to them.”

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