Blackpool match at Manchester City irresistible for boss Neil Critchley

The opportunity for Blackpool to test their wits against reigning Premier League champions Manchester City was simply too good to turn down.

Monday, 2nd August 2021, 8:00 am

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That’s according to head coach Neil Critchley who will take his Pool side to Manchester tomorrow to take on Pep Guardiola’s men.

The encounter, Blackpool’s final pre-season friendly before Saturday’s Championship opener at Bristol City, will be held at Manchester City’s academy stadium, with a 6pm kick-off.

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Pep Guardiola will select from his Manchester City first-team squad for Tuesday's game against Blackpool

Critchley told The Gazette: “We had an invitation from Man City on Friday to play a game against them on Tuesday.

“When you get an invitation like that, it takes about a second to agree to it.

“Even though they’ll be missing a lot of players because of the Euros, they’ll still be able to name a lot of top, top-quality players in their squad and it is their first-team.

“It will be great for our players to play against players like that. It will be a fantastic chance to test our defensive side of the game, that’s for certain.

“But what it will do, because we missed the (cancelled) Rangers game, is give some players who haven’t had loads of minutes in pre-season some minutes.

“Because it’s pre-season, you get that flexibility around subs and you can move the team around.

“We will reflect on the Morecambe game (a 1-1 draw on Saturday) and see how we’re looking, and then we’ll prepare for a great game to look forward to.”

Critchley’s men came from behind up the coast to share the spoils with fellow play-off winners Morecambe.

CJ Hamilton levelled for the Seasiders after Wes McDonald had given the League One newcomers a first-half lead.

While the likes of Ederson, Kyle Walker, Kevin de Bruyne, Phil Foden, Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus have yet to feature for the Citizens so far in pre-season, Guardiola will still be able to name a side packed full of international stars to face Blackpool.

Regular first-teamers Ruben Dias, Nathan Ake, Benjamin Mendy, Cancelo, Fernandinho and Riyad Mahrez featured in a recent friendly win against Preston North End.

Oleksandr Zinchenko and Ilkay Gundogan, meanwhile, returned from their break to feature in City’s 4-0 weekend win against Barnsley.

Further details regarding the streaming of the fixture will be announced shortly, the club has confirmed.

City, last season’s beaten Champions League finalists, will be looking to retain their Premier League title this coming season, having picked up the trophy in May for the fifth time in 10 seasons.

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