Bowyer’s rapid response unit at Blackpool

Jim McAlister in action at Hartlepool
Jim McAlister in action at Hartlepool
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Gary Bowyer says his Blackpool side’s powers of recovery will serve them well in 2017 as they look to mount a promotion challenge.

The Seasiders got back to winning ways on Monday with a determined display, which saw them fight to a hard-earned 1-0 win at Hartlepool.

It was the perfect response to the 2-0 home defeat by fellow promotion hopefuls Luton Town in their previous fixture – and manager Bowyer was delighted with his squad’s reaction.

The Pool boss said: “I’d rather we didn’t have to respond to losing but I’m delighted with how we’ve done it this season.

“They’re an honest bunch and you’ve seen that once again.”

Blackpool are yet to lose back-to-back games in League Two, having bounced back from defeats with wins against Yeovil, Doncaster, Newport and now Hartlepool.

The Boxing Day win against the relegation-threatened Pools came after Bowyer opted to make four changes to his side, with Kelvin Mellor returning from illness and Bright Osayi-Samuel, Jim McAlister and Mark Cullen all called into the starting team.

“We can only go game by game,” the manager added. “Now we just move on to the next one and that’s all we can do. We made changes to freshen it up and I think you’ve seen the value of the squad.”

Bowyer singled out McAlister, who made his first start since the 2-1 defeat at Accrington in October.

“You always know what you’re going to get with Jim,” he said.

“He’s been unfortunate to have been out of the team but we just felt this was the time to make some changes and that proved right.

“We’ve got a good squad here but we felt there was a need to freshen things up a little. Jim did ever so well.

“We’ve got to recover quickly for Saturday (when Pool are back on the north-east coast at Grimsby), and see who recovers well and who did well at Hartlepool.”

The Pool boss also reserved special praise for goalscorer Mark Cullen, who struck on the hour for his second goal in three appearances.

Bowyer added: “He chased down a lost cause at Stevenage to get his goal and he’s done exactly the same against Hartlepool.

“I’m absolutely delighted for him. The anticipation from Cully was terrific for his goal.”