Blackpool striker's hard work paid off with Blackburn Rovers winner
Neil Critchley has paid tribute to Jerry Yates after the Blackpool striker finally notched his first goal from open play this season.
The 24-year-old had endured a frustrating start to the campaign, scoring just once in his first 11 games before the weekend.
The goal he did score came from the penalty spot in the 2-2 draw against Bournemouth back in August.
Yates has even found himself out of the team in recent weeks, playing just 20 minutes in the draw at Hull City last week having been an unused substitute in the win against Barnsley.
Last season’s top goalscorer began the campaign as Blackpool’s first-choice striker, but has found himself being overtaken by the prolific Shayne Lavery, the returning Gary Madine and Arsenal loanee Tyreece John-Jules.
However, Yates remains a big part of Critchley’s plans, as the striker proved on Saturday in Blackpool’s 2-1 victory against Blackburn Rovers at Bloomfield Road.
Yates took advantage of Lavery’s misfortune, scoring just two minutes after replacing the Northern Irishman who suffered a hamstring injury after opening the scoring earlier on.
The striker will now be looking to build on his first goal from open play, just as he did last season when he scored 23 times to help fire the Seasiders to promotion despite failing to find the target in his first 11 outings.
“I’m made up for him because he’s been out of the team but his reaction has been outstanding,” Critchley said.
“He wants to do more, he wants to improve and he comes on and gets a goal, so I’m made up for him.
“I hoped he had scored more goals by now, but if his season goes in the same vein (as last season) then I certainly won’t be moaning about it.
“It was a great goal as well, wasn’t it? I love those goals, the one-yard or two-yard tap-ins, they’re worth just as much as a 25-yarder.
“I’m glad Jerry has got that. I know he scored from the spot at Bournemouth but this one gets him off the mark from open play, so I’m delighted for him.”
Lavery, who will now miss international duty with Northern Ireland as a result of his injury, wasn’t the only Blackpool player to suffer a knock during Saturday’s victory.
Chris Maxwell and Richard Keogh were also forced off the pitch, leaving Critchley’s players to desperately hold on for what proved a hard-earned three points.
The Seasiders’ head coach added: “It was crazy, honestly crazy. We don’t seem to get much luck.
“Blackburn have had a few as well recently, haven’t they? That’s why you need a squad and we’ve got a good, strong squad.
“We’re going to need those players because this league is relentless.
“It’s so intense, physically you have to be ready for every game and the physical capabilities of the players at this level is so, so high.”
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