Blackpool v Crewe Alexandra AS IT HAPPENED: Updates from Bloomfield Road as Seasiders bid to continue unbeaten run at Bloomfield Road

Blackpool will be looking to continue their fine run of form when they take on Crewe Alexandra at Bloomfield Road this evening.

Tuesday, 2nd March 2021, 4:30 pm
Updated Tuesday, 2nd March 2021, 9:10 pm
Blackpool have won eight of their last nine games at Bloomfield Road

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Blackpool v Crewe Alexandra: LIVE

Last updated: Tuesday, 02 March, 2021, 19:05

  • FT: Blackpool 1-1 Crewe Alexandra
  • Seasiders have won eight of their last nine games at Bloomfield Road
  • James Husband could feature despite injuring calf during Charlton warm-up
  • CJ Hamilton and Gary Madine closing in on return

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

Follow the blog for regular updates throughout the night.

Blackpool come into tonight’s game in a rich vein of form, having won five of their last six games in League One - with all five victories being accompanied with clean sheets.

Saturday’s comprehensive 3-0 win against Charlton Athletic at The Valley also made it three wins on the spin, having beaten Rochdale and Portsmouth in their previous two outings.

Neil Critchley’s side will also be bidding to continue their strong run of form at Bloomfield Road, where they’re unbeaten since October. Since losing 1-0 to Charlton, Pool have won eight of their following nine home games in all competitions.

Tonight’s opponents Crewe sit one point and two positions above the Seasiders in the league table, although they have played four games more.

James Husband (above) could come back into contention for tonight’s game despite picking up a calf niggle during the warm-up ahead of Saturday’s game against Charlton.

The defender was due to start that game at centre-back alongside Dan Ballard, but he was left out as a precaution and replaced by Jordan Thorniley, who performed superbly in his place while Nathan Shaw came onto the bench.

Husband’s knock isn’t thought to be too serious though and, should he not return tonight, the 27-year-old will definitely be back for Saturday’s game against AFC Wimbledon.

Elsewhere, CJ Hamilton (hamstring) and Gary Madine (groin) are closing in on returns, but Daniel Gretarsson, Marvin Ekpiteta and Keshi Anderson remain longer-term absentees.

Neil Critchley’s pre-match comments

Blackpool boss Neil Critchley

“Our league form at home has been good and we’re looking forward to what should be a good game of football.

“I know a lot of the Crewe players first-hand and a lot of their staff. They’ve had two good results recently, beating Accrington at home and we know what a good team Accy are in this division.

“They should have beaten Sunderland on Saturday as well, they deserved to win that game. They were the better team and that’s with Sunderland being in great form.

“That shows you the quality Crewe have got and the ability they’ve got in the team. They’ll still have aspirations of pushing up higher in the league.

“It’s a good game to look forward to.”

Critchley hoping to celebrate his first anniversary in style

Today marks the first anniversary of Neil Critchley’s appointment as Blackpool’s head coach.

It’s been a chaotic 12 months for the former Liverpool Under-23s coach, who has had to navigate the club through a global pandemic which struck just two games into his reign.

Under Critchley, the Seasiders are nine points better off than last season, sitting in 13th with 13 victories, just four draws and 10 defeats.

After a horrendous start to the season, where Blackpool lost six of their first nine games, the Seasiders have since won 11 of their last 18 games, losing just four times.

Critchley’s men are also playing catch-up having suffered seven postponements this term - four for weather conditions and three due to Covid-19 outbreaks among opposition squads.

Blackpool have four games in hand on Charlton Athletic, Crewe Alexandra and Plymouth Argyle, who are the three sides directly above them in the league table.

Accrington Stanley, Ipswich Town and Oxford, who sit seventh, eighth and ninth respectively, have all played two more games than the Seasiders.

In all competitions, combining last season’s two games and this season’s 36 games, Critchley has a win ratio of 42.10 per cent, with 16 wins, 10 draws and 12 defeats.

In the league this season, Critchley boasts an impressive win ratio of 48.14 per cent, with 13 wins from 27 games.

For context, Simon Grayson had a win ratio of 37 per cent during his first stint as Blackpool boss (league games only).

Ian Holloway had a 37.76 per cent win ratio, although this must be caveated by the fact the Seasiders were playing in the top flight for one of the seasons he was in charge.

Gary Bowyer’s win ratio was 36.52 per cent, Terry McPhillips’ was 37.5 per cent, while Grayson’s was 34.38 per cent in his second spell.

Dave Artell’s pre-match comments

“Critch has been brought up by this football club, his beliefs have been moulded a lot by this club so he’s not afraid to put young players in.

“However, he played 30-year-old Gary Madine at our place to try and bully out centre-backs, so he might do that again, you don’t know.

“The point is, our players are prepared to accept the challenge. Four years ago we had some mentally fragile players, that’s the truth, but that’s not the case now.

“We have to make sure that remains the case and that whatever is thrown at them, they’ll rise to the challenge.”

The teams are in...and CJ is back!

Neil Critchley unsurprisingly opts to name an unchanged side from the weekend, where Blackpool were 3-0 winners away at Charlton Athletic.

The big news is that CJ Hamilton, who has been sidelined with a serious hamstring injury since December 19, is back on the bench.

James Husband and Gary Madine both remain out, but aren’t thought to be too far away, while Marvin Ekpiteta, Daniel Gretarsson and Keshi Anderson remain longer-term concerns.

Here’s the Crewe side

And kick-off is just moments away. Can the Seasders beat Crewe and make it four wins on the spin? That would certainly be a first anniversary to remember for head coach Neil Critchley.

Up the mighty Pool!

Will it be a first anniversary to remember for Critch?

After both sets of players take the knee, Blackpool’s Kevin Stewart gets the game underway.

1 - Setting the tone

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