Blackpool still awaiting news from Barnsley about the chances of Saturday's game going ahead

Blackpool continue to prepare as normal for this weekend’s trip to Barnsley according to Neil Critchley.

Thursday, 13th January 2022, 10:47 am
Updated Thursday, 13th January 2022, 10:48 am

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Saturday’s clash at Oakwell was thrown into doubt at the beginning of the week when the Tykes postponed their midweek fixture against Stoke City due to a Covid-19 outbreak.

As yet, the Seasiders have not received any further clarity on how the outbreak will affect Saturday’s encounter.

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Speaking this morning about Barnsley’s postponement, Critchley said: “My heart sank, there were some raised eyebrows as well.

“Obviously they had a difficult FA Cup tie (against Barrow) that went to extra-time last Saturday and were facing three games in a week.

“We found out Monday morning they had some positive tests but we’re still waiting now.

“I believe they’re testing again today and we’re awaiting news on how those tests go. Once we do, I’m sure we’ll receive clarity from Barnsley and the EFL.”

The Seasiders are due to travel to Oakwell on Saturday

Until that news is forthcoming, the Seasiders will continue to train as normal as they look to get back to winning ways after last week’s disappointment in the FA Cup.

For the fans, however, Critchley concedes they will want an emphatic answer one way or another.

When asked about the need for quick news, Critchley said: “I think for the supporters more than anyone given their plans and preparation in terms of what it can cost for travelling.

“For us, it doesn’t change too much. We will prepare as if the game is going ahead, so we won’t be doing anything different until we hear anything different.

“In our minds at this moment in time, the game is on and we will prepare as if the game is going ahead.

“We want to play. Without repeating myself, every time we’ve been able to take to the pitch we’ve played.

“We’ve never called a game off for Covid issues and we want to carry on playing.

“We’re prepared, we want to play on Saturday. If more games get called off, you can already look at the fixture list and schedule that is coming up.

“Teams that progress in the FA Cup - unfortunately that’s not us - will miss another weekend, so you can start to see potential problems with the congestion of the fixture list in the second half of the season.

“I hope we don’t fall victim to that having put our bodies on the line and doing what we thought was the right thing to do over a really disjointed Christmas period where we were at full stretch but carried on playing.

“We hope that we’re not the victim of that in the second half of the season.”

While Blackpool’s squad is currently depleted by injuries, there’s been no new positive Covid cases reported so far this week.

But as ever, there’s the caveat that both clubs will be testing both today and tomorrow before Saturday’s game.

“We had a couple of players that missed last week’s game in the FA Cup, but those players are now back in training,” Critchley said.

“Everyone else has had a clean bill of health this week.”

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