Blackpool play-off rivals Oxford United and Stevenage hit by off-the-pitch issues that could impact promotion race

Blackpool head to Derby County on Friday free from the distractions that two of their play-off rivals are having to put up with
Stevenage boss Steve EvansStevenage boss Steve Evans
Stevenage boss Steve Evans

Blackpool play-off rivals Stevenage have been dealt a huge blow for part of their League One run-in.

And there’s off-the-pitch distractions for another of the Seasiders’ challengers for a top-six spot, with Oxford United being warned that the future of the club is 'at risk’. That worrying piece of advice comes amid news that the lease agreement for the U’s’ proposed new 16,000-capacity stadium is still to be signed - six months after the local council approved it.

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Oxford, who currently occupy sixth place in the League One table and are three points better off than Blackpool with seven games remaining, travel to Shrewsbury on Friday. A club statement read: “We need the heads of terms and lease option with appropriate conditions signed as this is causing serious delay and is putting the project and the very future of the club at risk."

Seventh-placed Stevenage also sit north of Blackpool in the league standings, with a two-point advantage over Neil Critchley’s side. They host automatic promotion-chasers Bolton tomorrow - but will be forced to take on Ian Evatt’s side with manager Steve Evans sat in the stands.

The Scot breached the terms of a one-match touchline ban when the Boro travelled to Peterborough on March 13. He’s now been handed a two-match extended dug-out ban which will be imposed over the Easter bank holiday weekend. As well as the game against the Trotters, Evans will also be under EFL sanctions for Stevenage’s trip to Charlton on Monday.

Evans & Co are without a win in their past five league outings. Included in their run-in is a trip to Oxford United on April 20.

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