Bowyer: Protests won’t affect Blackpool players

Gary Bowyer
Gary Bowyer
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Gary Bowyer says his Blackpool players won’t allow their performance to be affected by fan protests at Blackburn tomorrow.

Fans of Blackpool and Blackburn are set to stand side-by-side outside the ground while the FA Cup fourth round tie is being played.

The boycott is in protest at what organisers have described as the “wanton destruction” of their clubs”. They say that Rovers and Pool have been “reduced to a shell of their recent and historic glorious past” under the ownership of Venky’s and the Oystons respectively.

But Bowyer, who has experienced the turmoil first hand as manager of with both clubs, insists the players cannot get involved in off-field issues.

He said: “My last cup-tie with Blackburn was a quarter- final replay against Liverpool, when Ewood Park was packed.

“Sadly, from what I’m hearing, I don’t think it’s going to be anywhere near that.

“One thing you can’t do is bury your head in the sand and ignore it because it’s happening and it’s out there.

“We’ve always discussed it with the players and made them aware of it, but at the same time it’s not something we or the players can get involved in. All we can do is concentrate on our performances on the pitch. You’ve got to be professional.

“At both clubs we wouldn’t allow what was happening off the pitch to interfere with how we went about our jobs and that’s what we’ll be doing this Saturday.”

The clubs were in the same division two seasons ago, but 38 league places now separating them and Bowyer believes it would be a huge scalp if Pool were to reach the last 16.

He added: “We are all purists. We all love the game. This should be a special occasion for the club because it’s David versus Goliath and that’s what we should be talking about.

“It was David versus Goliath against Barnsley and it will be the same here. It ignite the romance of the FA Cup for us.

“If Blackburn beat Blackpool, they’re expected to and nobody says anything. They haven’t got that much to gain other than getting into the next round.

“But if we can knock Blackburn out it’s a massive story because it means we’ve beaten two Championship clubs.

“The sense of excitement around the training ground has been phenomenal.

“We’ve sold 1,200 tickets, so it will be good to hear the noise because the supporters who have come this season have been very supportive. We need that from them again on Saturday.”