Blackpool head coach's sole focus is the trip to Northampton Town

Today could be the day Blackpool confirm their place in the League One play-off positions.

Saturday, 1st May 2021, 8:00 am

The Seasiders currently sit three points ahead of seventh-placed Oxford United with a game in hand.

Should Neil Critchley’s side beat Northampton Town this afternoon and results elsewhere go their way, there’s a slim chance Pool’s top-six spot could be assured.

However, that would require Oxford, Charlton Athletic and Portsmouth to all drop points in their respective fixtures.

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The likelihood is Blackpool’s play-off quest will go down to the final week of the campaign, where they face back-to-back home games against Doncaster Rovers and Bristol Rovers.

While Critchley is keen for the Seasiders to mathematically confirm their spot in the play-offs as quickly as possible, he isn’t looking too far ahead.

He said: “You want to cement in the top six as quickly as possible because it would give you a little bit of breathing space, thinking time and preparation time.

“We understand we’ve got a tough game coming ahead at Northampton, so we’ll just go there trying to pick up the three points and let the league table take care of itself.”

There’s plenty at stake for today’s opponents too, as the Cobblers know they will be relegated unless they win.

The Sixfields outfit are four points adrift of safety with just two games left.

Today’s game is Blackpool’s final away fixture of the regular league campaign, although they’ll be hoping to hit the road again in the play-offs.

Critchley’s side have a strong record on their travels, winning 10 games and claiming 34 points from their 22 games – the sixth best record in the third tier.

In fact, there isn’t a huge difference between Blackpool’s home and away form, having picked up 37 points from their 21 games at Bloomfield Road.

“Our away form has been very good this season, on the whole,” Critchley said.

“We’ve won away against some tough teams, some big teams. We’re hard to beat and we’re capable of scoring goals away from home.

“We’ve had a pretty good balance between home and away, and I’d like to think that reflects on how we approach every game – that we don’t have one way of playing at home and one way of playing away.

“We’re just a team that wants to always be better and stronger, dominates the ball, plays on the front foot, attacks the opposition and goes to win every game, regardless of who we’re playing against and whether we’re playing home or away.

“If you look at both records, there’s not a big discrepancy between home form and away form.”

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