Blackpool will take no risks with Marvin Ekpiteta vows boss

Neil Critchley has urged caution with Marvin Ekpiteta after the defender made a surprise return to Blackpool’s squad on Monday.

Thursday, 8th April 2021, 8:00 am

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The 24-year-old has been sidelined since injuring a hamstring in the win against Rochdale on February 16.

It was known that Ekpiteta was making good progress but his inclusion in Pool’s match-day 18 for the 4-1 win against Gillingham surprised many.

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Marvin Ekpiteta at Bloomfield Road on Monday, when he was an unused substitute

Critchley also brought James Husband back into the fold after an enforced absence with a foot injury but warned centre-back Ekpiteta may not be ready to start just yet.

Pool’s head coach said: “That was nice as well to get a couple of the injured players back. Marvin only had one team training session with us, which was on Sunday, but we put him on the bench for a specific reason, thinking he could come in useful with 10 minutes to go.

“If we were leading and they were pumping free-kicks, long throws and corners into the box, then Marvin could play a part for us.

“Marvin isn’t really ready to play or start a game, so we just put him there for a tactical reason because we thought he might help us if we needed to see the game out.

“He’s been back on the grass for a couple of weeks. We didn’t need to use him, which I’m quite thankful for really, so we can give him another week in training. Then hopefully he’ll be better equipped and ready to go against Lincoln.

“As for Hubby, he’s been back for a couple of days in training and he’s fit. Kevin Stewart is out of his boot as well, so we’re getting there.

“Keshi (Anderson) is back out on the grass running and he’s desperate to be involved, so fingers crossed we suffer no more injury problems and we can get a few more back for the last nine games.”

Saturday’s trip to Lincoln City looks to be going ahead despite Covid concerns in the opposition camp.

The Imps were forced to close their training ground following positive tests among Michael Appleton’s squad and staff.

But the training facility has reopened and Lincoln, who sit directly below the Seasiders in sixth, are confident the encounter will go ahead.

Critchley said after Monday’s victory: “I know they’ve had their last two games called off because they’ve had a Covid outbreak, but that was last week and normally there’s a 10-day isolation period.

“I would have thought that would end in the middle of this week.

“They’ll have to fit those two games into the calendar somewhere and I’m not sure they will be able to.

“Their schedule will be really tight, so I would have thought they will want the game to go ahead. It will be a great game to look forward to.”

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