Bowyer boosted to see Blackpool so competitive

Gary Bowyer
Gary Bowyer

Gary Bowyer has praised his Blackpool players for the way they have adapted to life back in League One.

Having gained promotion via the play-offs, the Seasiders have started the season well and stand fifth – Wigan jumped above them into second spot with last night’s 1-0 win over Northampton.

Bowyer’s squad head to Bristol Rovers on Saturday with five wins and two draws from their last seven matches.

Four of those victories have come in as many outings at Bloomfield Road, allied to their win at Plymouth Argyle and draws at Scunthorpe United and Doncaster Rovers.

“Wherever we go and wherever we play, we always want to be competitive,” the manager said in the wake of Saturday’s 3-1 home win over Oxford United.

“That’s what we have worked on this season – we want to be competitive in every game.

“That’s the mindset of the group, so it doesn’t matter if we’re at Bristol Rovers or somewhere else.

“I’m pleased with how we’ve been, especially at home.”

Blackpool’s progress is all the more impressive given their hectic summer.

Fourteen players came in, with almost as many leaving as Bowyer massively reshaped his squad following promotion.

Rather than take time to gel, though, the players have shown they are already on the same page in the opening six-and-a-half weeks of this season.

They have also displayed flexibility, with the manager having changed formation as and when required and some players have impressed in more than one position.

Colin Daniel, for example, has found himself playing left-back, left wing-back and central midfield so far this season, with the Seasiders having deployed 4-3-3, 4-5-1 and 3-5-2 formations.

Last Saturday’s victory also allowed the manager the option of resting new signing Sessi D’Almeida in favour of top scorer Sean Longstaff after the latter’s return from an Achilles niggle.

The players have also had to contend with a change in style to a more possession-based approach this season.

“Credit goes to all the players in the squad,” Bowyer said.

“They have stepped up and you never know going into a new league but we have momentum from winning promotion.

“The way they have taken to how we’re asking them to play has been really good and we’re delighted with the progress they are making.

“Kelvin (Mellor) is a great example. He’s had his opportunity and he’s taken it, which is what we ask of them – if you’ve got the shirt, make sure you keep hold of it.

“We kept Sessi D’Almeida out on Saturday because he’d played two games in a week and that’s his first proper involvement for a year after injury.

“The squad’s looking healthy. There is good competition and that’s what you want.”