Blackpool's first task is to reach 50 points and maintain Championship status

Blackpool’s first target to tick off this season will be to maintain their Championship status.

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Richard Keogh an injury doubt for Blackpool's season opener against Reading

That’s according to head coach Michael Appleton, who believes the Seasiders need to be realistic and aim for 50 points first and foremost.

It comes after the club enjoyed an impressive first season back in the second tier, finishing in 16th on 60 points under Neil Critchley.

When asked to assess Blackpool’s chances ahead of today’s season opener against Reading, Appleton said: “In my experience it can be more difficult in the second season, but the day I walked through the door I said we’ve got to ensure we’re a Championship club next season, that’s the simple most important thing.

“Whether people like that or not, it’s the truth and sometimes the truth hurts.

“From my point of view, and I’ve said it previously, when you take the Premier League out of the equation and you look at the Championship, League One and League Two, usually there are around 12 teams each year who think they should finish in the top six.

“Within that, there are probably six teams within those leagues who think they should be automatically promoted. But not everyone can do that.

Michael Appleton is in realistic mood ahead of Blackpool's season opener

“On the flipside of that, there’s probably 12 teams that can either finish 13th or 24th and that’s the reality, that’s the world we live in.

“So we’ve just got to make sure we stay as competitive as we have been over the last couple of years and see if we can improve in the final third.”

Despite setting what is a fairly modest objective for the season ahead, Appleton insists that won’t stop his side exceeding expectations if everything comes together.

“I think it’s the same with most clubs up and down the country to be honest,” he added.

“It was no different to the season I had two seasons ago with Lincoln City – our target was to stay in the league and we finished fifth (and reached the play-off final).

“If you get off to a good start and momentum builds anything can happen, so you just don’t know.”