Bowyer: Time for Pool to push for the play-offs

Gary Bowyer wants his Blackpool players to bounce back from defeat at Portsmouth
Gary Bowyer wants his Blackpool players to bounce back from defeat at Portsmouth
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Blackpool manager Gary Bowyer says now is the time for his players to roll up their sleeves and fight to secure a play-off spot.

The Seasiders return to league action on Saturday with a home game against relegation candidates Crewe Alexandra, having lost their five-match unbeaten run during the 2-0 defeat at Portsmouth during the week.

But with 16 games left to play, Bowyer insists the play-offs are still very much a realistic possibility.

“We have to dust ourselves down and go again,” he said.

“It’s going to take a lot of hard work from our end but I think you’ve seen that hard work on the pitch and we’ve got to keep doing that.

“We’ve got 16 games to go now and we have to keep fighting. Of course we can still make it.”

The defeat on Valentine’s Night saw Pool lose more ground on the top seven, although there was minimal damage as most of the sides in and around them in the league table failed to pick up wins during the week.

Several of the Seasiders’ remaining fixtures come against their promotion rivals – games that will prove vital if his side are going to finish in the top seven.

The Pool boss added: “I asked one of the lads in the changing room (after the Portsmouth game): we’ve got 16 games left, so how many points have we got left to play for?

“I won’t embarrass him and tell you who got it wrong but we have 48 points left to play for, and that’s what our focus is on.”

At half-time during the Portsmouth game, Bowyer was forced into a system change as he reverted to a back four with Will Aimson deployed in a defensive midfielder’s role.

He then made a triple chance with just 10 minutes left on the clock in a desperate bid to rescue something from the game, but it proved in vain as Pompey grabbed their second in the final minute of injury time to secure three points.

Bowyer said: “We just felt we were too far off them so we decided to put an extra body in midfield and get some more pace in the side and it nearly paid off for us.

“It brought clarity to one or two in terms of their jobs. We knew we had to go and really force ourselves on it (the game), and that’s what we did. The longer it went on, you just felt that we could snatch something.

“With the three subs, you’ve got to manage people coming back from long-term injuries; we didn’t need Kyle Vassell or Brad Potts getting injured late on in the game when you look at what we’ve got to bring on.

“I thought Jammer (Jamille Matt) caused one or two problems but the ball just didn’t quite land for us. But I was pleased with their efforts in the second half.”