Callum Connolly on Blackpool's break, the televised Nottingham Forest clash and an exciting end to the season

Callum Connolly believes an almost fully-fit Blackpool squad is ready to attack the final run-in after a much-needed break.

Friday, 1st April 2022, 8:00 am

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Neil Critchley’s side return to action on Saturday, hosting Nottingham Forest at Bloomfield Road after a two-and-a-half week break.

The time off has allowed the Seasiders to ease their injury list, with the likes of Chris Maxwell, Richard Keogh, Luke Garbutt, Jordan Gabriel, Matty Virtue and Keshi Anderson working their way back from injury.

Critchley will need as many players available as possible given his side play eight games this month before finishing the season at Peterborough United in May.

Speaking to The Gazette, Connolly believes the Seasiders are well rested and revitalised for a busy end to the season.

“We all made the most of the break,” he said. “It’s been a tough season so far so a lot of the lads needed a little freshen-up.

“We’ve got a tough month ahead of us now with a lot of games, so hopefully the break will stand us in good stead for the last part of the season.

Callum Connolly, right, and Neil Critchley are ready to attack the final nine games of the season

“It’s good to be able to switch off momentarily but at the same time you’re still trying to stay fit.

“Two weeks is a long time in football, so you can’t just do nothing. We’ve still been in training and we’ve stepped it up this week leading up to the game on Saturday.

“We’ve got a tough game against Nottingham Forest, so all the focus has to be on that now.

A win in the early kick-off on Saturday, due to the game being televised live on Sky Sports, will see Pool cut the gap to the play-offs to just six points.

“The next few games are going to be massive to see what we’re going to be like towards the back end of the season,” Connolly added.

"I think we’ve got a fully fit squad now with only a couple injured, so we’ve got a big squad. Everyone is fully refreshed and raring to go.

“We’ve just got to take each game as it comes, we can’t look too far ahead. We’ve got a big month ahead but the biggest game is up first on Saturday.

“We’ve got three games in seven days, so if we can get some points from those games it will keep us high up in the table.

“But you can only focus on one game at a time and what will be, will be come the end of the season.”

The Seasiders have plenty to look forward to over the next week or so, with back-to-back Lancashire derbies against Preston North End and Blackburn Rovers on the horizon after Saturday’s televised clash.

“These are the games you want to be playing in, the Sky games and local derbies,” Connolly said.

“The training ground has been in high spirits this week and everyone is looking forward to the games, so it’s going to be an exciting end to the season.

“This is a massive game on Saturday for us. We know the Preston game is on Tuesday but all of our focus in training has been on the Forest game.

“They’re having a decent season and they’ve got some good individuals, but we’ve done our homework on them so we know what they’re all about.”