Blackpool v Gillingham AS IT HAPPENED: Updates from Bloomfield Road

Blackpool will be looking to cement their spot in the League One play-offs when they take on top six rivals Gillingham during today's pivotal Easter Monday encounter at Bloomfield Road.

Monday, 5th April 2021, 12:30 pm
Updated Monday, 5th April 2021, 5:04 pm
The Seasiders are unbeaten at Bloomfield Road since October 20

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Blackpool v Gillingham LIVE

Last updated: Monday, 05 April, 2021, 15:15

  • FT: Blackpool 4-1 Gillingham
  • Seasiders looking to cement spot in League One play-offs against top six rivals
  • Neil Critchley’s side unbeaten in last 12 games
  • Gillingham sit two points behind Blackpool in the table

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

Follow the blog for regular updates throughout the day.

The Seasiders will be aiming to cement their spot in the League One play-offs when they take on their top six rivals Gillingham at Bloomfield Road today.

Steve Evans’ side, who beat Blackpool 2-0 at the Priestfield Stadium earlier in the season, sit two points adrift of the Seasiders in the league table, albeit having played three games more.

Pool come into the game in a rich vein of form, having avoided defeat in their last 12 games. They’re also unbeaten on home turf since October 20, a record that stretches back 15 games in all competitions.

The Gills are in good form themselves though, having won three of their last five and losing just one of their last nine. Striker Vadaine Oliver has scored nine goals in his last nine games.

Magnificent on his first start since the turn of the year. Always in the right place at the right time to head away.

Daniel Gretarsson should be fine to play for the second straight game despite being brought off as a precaution during Good Friday’s 2-0 win at Swindon Town.

The centre-back was unwell prior to kick-off, so it was more of an issue with fatigue.

Sullay Kaikai was also brought off against the Robins after going down, but Neil Critchley said that was a tactical decision rather than a physical one.

Elsewhere, James Husband could return having taken part in the warm-up on Friday. The defender, who has been missing with a foot injury in recent weeks, was due to take part in training on Sunday.

Marvin Ekpiteta, Kevin Stewart, Matty Virtue, Keshi Anderson, CJ Hamilton and Gary Madine all remain sidelined through injury, while Bez Lubala is unavailable due to a ‘club matter’.

Neil Critchley’s pre-match comments

Neil Critchley's side are now unbeaten in their last 12 games

“It’s just the next game and we have a consistent way of preparing, so this is Gillingham, this is what they’re good at, this is what we’re going to need to do to try and win the game and we prepare the same way.

“We don’t talk about league tables, we don’t talk about big games, it’s just the next game.

“Gillingham is a tough game but they all are in this division.

“You know what you’re going to get with Gillingham, they’re on a great run and they’ve been very hard to beat all season and hard to play against - as we know.

“But it would be lazy analysis just to label Gillingham a certain type of team. They’ve actually got good players in the team and they play more football than maybe people give them credit for.

“That’s credit to Steve Evans and the job he has done this season because they’ve improved and got better, but so have we.

“It makes for a really good game on Monday.”

Steve Evans’ pre-match comments

“We don’t kid ourselves for a minute, they are a dangerous opponent and we will need to be focused. It will be a tough afternoon, but one we are looking forward to.

“They have a very talented group. Neil (Critchley) has had a few injuries recently but they have a 25-or-26-man squad up there and 22 players who could play in the first 11.

“Blackpool are in terrific form and I wasn’t surprised when they recently beat Peterborough as comfortably as they did (3-1 at Bloomfield Road) and it gives you an indication of how difficult our task is.

“It’s a big ask to go to the North West, but we will go there and work as hard as we possibly can, as a manager I can ask for no more.

“Their talisman is a Jerry Yates; I gave him his football league debut back in my days at Rotherham. He is having a wonderful career and is destined to go on to play higher.

“It’s not just a one-man team though, they have pace and power all over. They can play a number of systems, are very good at working the ball through the lines, and they take their chances.

“It’s like the most poisonous snake in the grass, we can see it, but wherever you might move there could be a problem.”

Surface in impressive condition

Here’s the Gillingham side

The Seasiders, who have been mired by an injury crisis in recent weeks, are boosted by the return of James Husband and Marvin Ekpiteta.

The duo are named on the bench, alongside Daniel Gretarsson who is dropped from the Good Friday victory at Swindon.

Jordan Gabriel also comes out of the side as Neil Critchley makes two changes to his side, bringing in Dan Ballard - making his first appearance since being called up for international duty - and Jordan Thorniley.

Kevin Stewart, Matty Virtue, Keshi Anderson, CJ Hamilton and Gary Madine all remain sidelined, while Bez Lubala is still unavailable due to a ‘club matter’.

Gillingham, who begin the day just two points behind the Seasiders in the league table, name the same side that beat Wigan Athletic 1-0 last week.

The match will be officiated by Darren Drysdale, who has recently returned from a four-game ban after ‘locking heads’ and snarling in the face of Ipswich Town player Alan Judge.

And kick-off is just moments away.

Can the Seasiders continue their unbeaten run and cement their place in the League One play-offs with a win against one of their rivals? We’ll soon find out.

Up the mighty Pool!

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