Blackpool v Sunderland AS IT HAPPENED: Updates from Bloomfield Road
Fifth-placed Blackpool take on third-placed Sunderland this lunchtime in a pivotal encounter at Bloomfield Road.
Follow our live blog for regular updates...
LIVE: Blackpool v Sunderland
Last updated: Saturday, 17 April, 2021, 12:48
- FT: Blackpool 1-0 Sunderland
- 5th vs 3rd face off in pivotal encounter at Bloomfield Road (12.30pm kick-off)
- Seasiders unbeaten in 15 games and haven’t lost at home in almost six months
- Black Cats come into the game off the back of back-to-back defeats
And welcome to today’s live blog, where we’ll bring you all the build-up, team news and action from this lunchtime’s pivotal encounter between Blackpool and Sunderland.
Follow the blog for regular updates throughout the day.
With Blackpool currently sat in a play-off spot, it goes without saying that every game between now and the end of the season is an important one.
But with the fifth-placed Seasiders taking on third-placed Sunderland, today’s game takes on extra significance.
Neil Critchley’s side will be looking to build on their 15-game unbeaten run against a Sunderland side who have slipped away from the automatic promotion spots in recent weeks.
Lee Johnson’s men looked odds on to finish in the top two following a run of eight wins in 11 games left them just two points off Peterborough United with a game in hand.
But, following successive defeats to Charlton Athletic and Wigan Athletic respectively, the Black Cats now sit five points off the top two with six games remaining, having also played their game in hand.
The Seasiders, who haven’t been beaten at home in 17 games in all competitions, a run that stretches back almost six months, will know a victory will go a long way to cementing their spot in the League One play-offs.
Today’s game kicks off at the earlier time of 12.30pm to avoid a clash with Prince Philip’s funeral.
Elliot Embleton is ineligible to play given he’s on loan from today’s opponents Sunderland.
Blackpool have no fresh injury problems from Tuesday night’s goalless draw against Accrington Stanley, so it’s likely to be the same squad to choose from minus Embleton.
Kevin Stewart (ankle), Keshi Anderson (hamstring) and Gary Madine (groin) are all making good progress in their injury recoveries and it’s hoped all three could still play some part between now and the end of the season.
Elsewhere, Matty Virtue (ACL) and CJ Hamilton (metertarsal) are out for the remainder of the season and Bez Lubala continues to be unavailable due to a ‘club matter’.
Neil Critchley’s pre-match comments
“We understand the challenge we’ve got in front of us, we know how good they are. But we’re on a good run, we’re confident and we’re at home, where we have a good record.
“We’ve got two games against them in 10 days but we’ve also got two important games in-between as well.
“We’ll know about them, they’ll know about us. It’s two good teams with lots of good players and it’ll be two very good games of football I think.
“They’ve got a fantastic away record. I think their game against Wigan the other night was only the second time they had been beaten away from home this season and they don’t concede many goals.
“When you’ve got players like Lynden Gooch, Jordan Jones, Aiden O’Brien, Aiden McGeady and Charlie Wyke, the list goes on, when they’ve got quality like that they’re always going to be a threat in any game they play.
“They’re good defensively but they’ve also got good options at the other end of the pitch, which makes them a real threat, which they are.
“They’ve got experience in the team as well, so they’re a top team.”
Unbeaten run to protect
The teams are in
Here’s the Sunderland side
Neil Critchley opts to make two changes to the side that played out a goalless draw against Accrington Stanley on Tuesday night.
Demetri Mitchell, who enjoyed a trial with Sunderland in pre-season before joining the Seasiders, comes into the side in place of loanee Elliot Embleton, who is ineligible to face his parent club.
Elsewhere, Ollie Turton comes back into the side after being dropped for Jordan Gabriel at right-back in midweek.
Elsewhere, 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’.
Sunderland, meanwhile, make three changes to the side that lost 2-1 to Wigan Athletic in midweek, their second successive defeat on the bounce.
The teams are out
And kick-off is moments away.
Can the Seasiders pick up a vital win against a direct rival and cement their spot in the League One play-offs in the process? We’ll soon find out.
Up the mighty Pool!
After a minute’s silence for Prince Philip, Blackpool’s Kenny Dougall gets the game underway.