Blackpool midfielder Matty Virtue likely to miss half of season warns Neil Critchley

Neil Critchley has conceded Matty Virtue is likely to miss the first half of Blackpool’s season.

Tuesday, 13th July 2021, 8:00 am

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The midfielder suffered an ACL injury at the end of March, which saw him miss the run-in as Pool won promotion from League One.

The 24-year-old underwent successful surgery but, while Virtue is making good progress in his recovery, the former Liverpool man is still expected to be sidelined for some time.

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Matty Virtue has not played since damaging knee ligaments at Oxford in March

“Matty has had his operation and everything has gone well,” Critchley told The Gazette.

“He saw the specialist the other day and he’s happy with where he’s at in the timeline of his recovery.

“I wouldn’t want to put a timeframe on it, but I’d be surprised if we saw him for the first half of the season because it was a serious injury.”

There’s better news regarding both Daniel Gretarsson and Gary Madine who also went under the knife.

Gretarsson had an operation on a shoulder injury, while Madine had surgery to rectify the striker’s long-standing, niggly groin complaints.

“Gary had an operation at the end of the season. We felt that was the right thing to do to solve the issue he had,” Critchley said.

“He’s just going through his rehab at the moment. He’s been doing a bit of running recently so, fingers crossed, he can join back in towards the end of pre-season, which would give him a

“Daniel has had shoulder surgery but he’s running and moving now, as well as doing strengthening work and mobility work. We’re hopeful he can join in towards the back end of pre-season.

“To have Daniel and Gary join back in and Kenny Dougall returning will make a huge difference to the group.”

Dougall links up with the Seasiders for the first time this week after an extra week’s rest following his international excursions with Australia.

There are no concerns regarding Chris Maxwell, who was left out during Saturday’s opening pre-season friendly at Southport.

The goalkeeper travelled to Haig Avenue but watched from the stands with Stuart Moore and Daniel Grimshaw getting 45 minutes each.

“It was nothing with Maxi,” Critchley said.

“He’s just had a really tough week, because Banksy (goalkeeping coach Steve Banks) has worked him hard and we felt it was the right thing to do to have Stuart and Grimmy to play instead.

“There’s no issues, no problem, so he will play in some of the games coming up.

“As for Kenny, he went away with Australia straight after last season’s final, so his season was extended by two or three weeks.

“It was the right thing for him to have an extra week off but he will join back up with us this week and it will be nice to see him.

“Rest is important, but Kenny is itching to get back.”

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