Blackpool boss Gary Bowyer insists a play-off place is anything but a formality, especially as up to 1,000 Leyton Orient supporters will be able to attend Saturday’s decisive clash at Bloomfield Road.
The EFL this week suspended all ticket sales to fans of relegated Orient for 24 hours while security issues were reviewed at Blackpool’s request.
The governing body last night lifted the suspension, though the London club’s allocation has been reduced from 1,700 to 1,000 and their remaining tickets for the final-day fixture may only be sold to season ticket holders and to members of Leyton Orient Fans’ Trust.
A pitch invasion by Orient fans last Saturday resulted in their home match with Colchester finishing two hours late. Like their ‘O’s counterparts, many Blackpool fans are at loggerheads with their club’s ownership and a protest march is planned ahead of the 5.30pm kick-off.
The Seasiders are seventh in League Two and know a win will keep them in the play-off places courtesy of their vastly superior goal difference.
But Bowyer knows a top-seven spot won’t be gifted to his team by the bottom club, who will play in the National League in 2017-18.
He said: “Football is never a formality, is it? I can remember watching Man United losing 1-0 in the Nou Camp in the European Cup Final and the formality was that they weren’t going home with anything – and they went home with the trophy.”
Bowyer will be looking for a reaction from his players after last weekend’s 1-0 defeat at Notts County. The Pool boss says his players can’t afford to dwell on that setback as they focus on Saturday’s crunch game.
He added: “The Leyton Orient game is exactly the same as the Notts County game was and all the others this season – we prepare properly, we recover properly and we go again.
“That’s been the message to the players. I’m not having anyone feeling sorry for themselves because they’ve lost a game of football.
“They’ve got to bounce back and show the resilience they’ve shown throughout the season to get themselves over that line.
“A massive strength we’ve got is the unity of the group. They’re all in it for each other.
“It’s powerful when you’ve got people supporting each other even when they’re not in the team or in the squad.
“They’re all working ever so hard to achieve the goal they’ve set themselves.”