Blackpool striker's return from injury offers another option up front

Neil Critchley believes Gary Madine’s return will give Blackpool a much-needed added dimension in attack.

Thursday, 16th September 2021, 8:00 am

The striker was registered in Blackpool’s 25-man squad in time to be on the bench for Tuesday’s defeat to Huddersfield Town.

The 31-year-old was a late substitute, getting 17 minutes plus stoppage time under his belt on his first appearance of the season.

“Gary has been training for about a week and has looked really sharp, lean and fit,” Critchley explained.

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“He’s worked really hard to get back to where he’s at, so we added him to the squad on Monday.

“He’s desperate to be involved and it was brilliant for him to come on and play 20 minutes.

“Even during those 20 minutes, you can see what he brings to the team. It’s a bit of an added dimension to our team at the top end of the pitch.

“I actually don’t think we crossed enough to him at the end to use him, but that’s probably because we’re not used to having him on the pitch.”

Madine endured an injury-plagued second half of last season, failing to make an appearance for three-and-a-half months, but returning in time for Blackpool’s play-off campaign.

His groin problems were still present, however, and he required surgery during the summer.

Madine was initially left out of Blackpool’s 25-man squad while he recovered but injured players can be registered at any time if there is space.

“I wouldn’t say he’s ready to go 90 minutes yet. He hasn’t played a lot of football since January,” the Pool boss added.

“He came back towards the end of last season, but they were fleeting appearances towards the end of games.

“Hopefully for Gary this is a start and he can stay fit, so he can build up his training load. If he does that, at some point he’ll be able to increase his minutes on the pitch.”

Madine’s return could see Tyreece John-Jules play on the left wing more often, a role he undertook against Huddersfield.

“I thought he was very good in the first half and he was excellent against Fulham on Saturday,” Critchley said.

“He got fouled quite a lot in the first half and he was causing problems for them. When he has the ball and he has his head up, and he’s running forward, he can pick out nice passes.

“He’s very good between the lines and he’s very intelligent, so he has the ability to play in different positions.”

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