Blackpool v AFC Wimbledon AS IT HAPPENED: Updates from Bloomfield Road as in-form Seasiders bid to close the gap on League One play-offs

Blackpool will be looking to continue their good form and claim another win to close the gap to the League One play-offs when they take on AFC Wimbledon today.

Saturday, 6th March 2021, 12:30 pm
Updated Saturday, 6th March 2021, 5:09 pm
Blackpool are unbeaten at Bloomfield Road since October
Blackpool are unbeaten at Bloomfield Road since October

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LIVE: Blackpool v AFC Wimbledon

Last updated: Saturday, 06 March, 2021, 15:20

  • LIVE: Blackpool 1-1 AFC Wimbledon
  • In-form Seasiders have won five of their last seven games in League One
  • James Husband and Gary Madine closing in on return, Daniel Gretarsson to return to full training soon
  • Wimbledon languish in bottom four, one point adrift of safety

And welcome to today’s live blog, where we’ll bring you all the build-up, team news and action from Blackpool’s League One encounter against AFC Wimbledon.

Follow the blog for regular updates throughout the afternoon.

Blackpool come into today’s game in good form, with five wins in their last seven games in League One.

They looked set to seal a fourth straight victory in midweek when they led 1-0 against Crewe Alexandra with 86 minutes on the clock, but the visitors scored late on to peg them back, leaving Neil Critchley’s side to settle for a point.

The Seasiders are performing especially well at Bloomfield Road, where they remain unbeaten since October in a run that stretches back to October.

Today’s opponents Wimbledon currently languish inside the bottom four, a point adrift of safety. They did, however, overcome Pool 1-0 earlier in the campaign in a game where both Ethan Robson and Dan Ballard were sent off.

James Husband (calf) and Gary Madine (above, groin) are both closing in on a return from injury having been absent for Blackpool’s 1-1 draw against Crewe on Tuesday night.

CJ Hamilton (hamstring) also had no adverse reaction after making his return in midweek, coming off the bench in the second-half for his first glimpse of action since December 19.

Elsewhere, Pool could also be boosted by the imminent return of Daniel Gretarsson, who is due to return to full training on Monday.

Marvin Ekpiteta and Keshi Anderson remain longer-term concerns.

Neil Critchley’s pre-match comments

“It will be a different challenge to the one we faced earlier in the season. They’ve got a new manager in Mark Robinson who plays a different way, a different style.

“The players are getting used to that style and the change in how they approach games, but going to Shrewsbury away from home in midweek and drawing is a good point.

“We know how difficult it is to go to Shrewsbury and try and get something, so that will give them some confidence.

“They’ll be coming to our place on Saturday looking to back that up, so it’s another tough game.

“They like to play football. Whether it’s right or wrong, the new manager has tried to implement a new way and that’s his way.

“They’ve got some good attacking players and they like to play some football, just as Crewe did on Tuesday.

“It should be a really good game of football, but we have to improve certain areas of our play that let us down in midweek.

“But again, we’re at home, we have good form here and it’s up to us to keep it going and try and pick up three points.”

Believe it or not, this afternoon’s fixture is Blackpool’s first home league game to be played at 3pm on a Saturday since December 12, when they played out a goalless draw with Oxford United.

They did upset West Brom in the third round of the FA Cup on a Saturday afternoon, however.

Here’s the Wimbledon side

With the congested fixture list in mind, Neil Critchley opts to make four changes to the side that drew 1-1 with Crewe Alexandra in midweek.

Luke Garbutt, Jordan Gabriel, Grant Ward and Sullay Kaikai all drop out of the starting line-up.

OIlie Turton returns at right-back to make his first start since January 16, while James Husband has recovered from a slight calf problem to start on the left-hand side of defence.

Demetri Mitchell replaces Kaikai on the left flank, while CJ Hamilton starts his first game since December 19 - in place of Ward - having made a successful return off the bench in midweek.

Marvin Ekpiteta, Daniel Gretarsson, Keshi Anderson and Gary Madine all remain sidelined.

Wimbledon, who started the day inside the bottom four, name former Pool loanee Sam Walker in goal, but Ben Heneghan drops to the bench.

And kick-off is just moments away.

Can the Seasiders continue their strong form in their quest to cut the gap to the League One play-offs? We’ll soon find out.

Up the mighty Pool!

After both sets of players take the knee, Wimbledon’s Joe Pigott gets the game underway.

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