Blackpool taking no risks with Cullen

Mark Cullen
Mark Cullen
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Blackpool boss Gary Bowyer has played down Mark Cullen’s hamstring strain, saying the striker was kept out of the win at Yeovil as a precaution.

But Armand Gnanduillet, who scored his first goal for the club in that 3-0 win after missing a penalty, is Bowyer’s only 100 per cent fit striker going into Saturday’s match at Colchester.

Cullen had played the whole of the midweek Checkatrade Trophy win over Cheltenham but was given the weekend off to nurse a hamstring he strained late last season.

The problem continued to hamper the 24-year-old during pre-season and in the early weeks of the new campaign. He scored his one goal so far in the draw at Barnet before limping off.

Bowyer said: “It’s just a slight strain of his hamstring, which he had last season at the back end, so we just erred on the side of caution at Yeovil.”

Fellow strikers Jamille Matt (knee) and Danny Philliskirk (ankle) are stepping up their recovery, though Bowyer has admitted that Jack Redshaw will take time to return after a shinsplints issue.

Kyle Vassell is getting back to full fitness after struggling with knocks so far this season.

He scored both goals in the win over Cheltenham and played for an hour at Yeovil on Saturday.

Vassell had picked up a booking for dissent late in the first half at Huish Park, after he was penalised for a foul on Yeovil keeper Artur Krysiak. Bowyer says the booking and the need to be careful with the striker’s recovery were the reasons for his early withdrawal.

And he says summer signing Vassell, whose other Pool goal came in the opening-day win over Exeter, will be a force in League Two this season.

Bowyer added: “I don’t know what Kyle got booked for, but once we had gone ahead we had to make sure that we kept 11 on the pitch. It was as simple as that with that one.

“Kyle’s going to give us loads. He is buoyed by his two goals against Cheltenham last week.

“We just had to be careful with him coming back from injury and being on a yellow card as well.

“But we are delighted with how he is performing and he is going to be a real handful in this league.”