Blackpool will need their strength in depth says Neil Critchley

Blackpool are going to need as many fit bodies as possible heading into a hectic few weeks of league games.

Tuesday, 20th October 2020, 1:37 pm
Keshi Anderson is set to miss the Charlton game

That’s according to Neil Critchley, who has confirmed the Seasiders will be without Luke Garbutt, Matty Virtue and Keshi Anderson for tonight’s clash against Charlton Athletic.

Aside from that, Blackpool have a clean bill of health – something that will be needed over the coming weeks with five games in two weeks.

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“From Saturday, Keshi Anderson and Matty Virtue are missing,” Critchley said.

“Luke Garbutt went off early in that game with a hamstring problem, so he’s had a scan and we’re waiting to find out the severity of that injury.

“Those three won’t be involved against Charlton, but other than that we have a clean bill of health.

“That’s good because we’re going to need all of our bodies, although we might have to patch them up a little bit at times over the next few weeks because we’re playing Saturday-Tuesday for the next four or five weeks.

“There’s a lot of games coming so we’re going to need strength in numbers, which hopefully we’ve got.

“We’ve got a lot of players at different sorts of stages of fitness, depending on whether they were with us for pre-season or not.

“Hopefully, in the next few weeks, we can hopefully feel the benefit of our squad.”

Garbutt lasted just five minutes of Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Crewe Alexandra, cutting a frustrated figure as he clutched his hamstring with Demetri Mitchell taking his place on the field.

The left-back is one of those players to have arrived at Bloomfield Road on the back of no pre-season, sparking concerns he was rushed into first-team action too quickly.

“He felt his hamstring very early in the game, after about four or five minutes, which is not ideal obviously,” Critchley said.

“He’s obviously got a problem, but fingers crossed, it’s not as big a problem as we think it could be.

“Speaking to a lot of other managers and coaches – and physios talk to other physios – there seems to be a huge amount of injuries right across the board at other clubs as well.

“Specialists and people who are doing scans are doing overtime at the minute in football right across the leagues.

“The fact players have not played for six months – some have had a pre-season and some haven’t – means injuries are likely. You’re always going to pick up injuries even if circumstances are ideal for you, it’s part and parcel of football.

“In these circumstances, players have not had access to gym programmes because they were closed for a while, so maybe they’re lacking some strength in their body and in their muscles and that plays its part as well.

“When you’re playing under fatigue, that’s when injuries can happen so we have to be very mindful of that.”

Blackpool will be looking for just their second win of the campaign tonight when they take on a Charlton side who beat Wigan Athletic 1-0 on Saturday, taking their points tally to seven points from five games.

“They’re under new ownership and they’ve brought in a lot of new players in the last week or two, so their squad has changed a lot,” Critchley said.

“They’ve just come down from the Championship, it’s a big club and they’ve got aspirations of going straight back up.

“They’ve strengthened recently, so it’s quite hard to predict what they’ll do but with the experience and strength in depth they’ve got, we know they’re a tough team and it’ll be a really tough game.”