Blackpool's midfield men are in line to return this week

Blackpool could have Kenny Dougall and Kevin Stewart back available to them for their next league game against Cardiff City.

Monday, 9th August 2021, 8:00 am
Updated Monday, 9th August 2021, 8:12 am

The midfield duo were both missing for Pool’s opening day 1-1 draw at Bristol City on Saturday.

Their absence was keenly felt, too, with Neil Critchley’s midfield struggling to cope against their more experienced opponents.

Dougall should take part in full training this week, having recovered from a knee injury he suffered in pre-season training.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Neil Critchley (right) saw his Blackpool players draw at Bristol City

Read More

Read More
Blackpool come back with a bang: The Gazette's verdict on the Seasiders' dramati...

As for Stewart, the ankle knock he suffered during the recent friendly against Manchester City wasn’t as bad as first feared.

While the 27-year-old is likely to be back for Wednesday night’s Carabao Cup tie against Middlesbrough, there is a chance he could come back into contention for Pool’s first home league game of the season on Saturday.

“We’re hopeful Kenny will train on Monday or Tuesday of this week,” Critchley said.

“Kevin has only got a grade one ankle strain, so we feel pretty good about that and he feels positive.

“We’re not expecting those two to be out for long.

“Kenny might come in for Wednesday, Kevin maybe for next weekend. We’ll see how he progresses.”

The Seasiders are already having to do without players including Daniel Gretarsson (shoulder), Matty Virtue (ACL), Demetri Mitchell (knee) and Gary Madine (groin).

“We’re missing some big players,” Critchley added.

“Demi being out is a big miss because of how well he’s done in pre-season, there’s Daniel Gretarsson and Gary Madine as well.

“We’ll get stronger and we’ve got players to add to this group. I’m not sure if Bristol City have, but we have.

“I think we can take a lot of encouragement for the rest of the season off this performance.”

Despite making a confident start, the Seasiders were second best for the majority of Saturday’s curtain raiser at Ashton Gate.

It was only when Josh Bowler and Shayne Lavery came off the bench that Pool threatened late on, the duo combining for Pool’s last-gasp equaliser.

On the step up in quality from League One from the Championship, Critchley said: “You can see it, you definitely feel it on the side of the pitch.

“You feel the whole level of the game, that extra bit of physicality, the touch and the passing is a little bit more assured.

“When they make a cross, it’s normally right on the money or the set-pieces are right in the danger area.

“You can just tell it’s a different type of game in the Championship.

“Over 90 minutes, or 93 minutes, we can take a lot of encouragement from that because Bristol City will expect to do well this season.

“I’m sure they think they probably did enough to win the game but I don’t think anyone would argue we deserved the point.”

Thanks for reading. If you value what we do and are able to support us, a digital subscription is just £1 per month for the first two months. Try us today by clicking here