Chris Maxwell or Daniel Grimshaw? Key keeper question for Blackpool boss Neil Critchley

Neil Critchley admits he faces “a tough decision” over who to select in goal for Blackpool as club captain Chris Maxwell returns to full fitness.

Friday, 3rd December 2021, 8:00 am

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Maxwell has been out of action since tearing a quadricep in the victory over Blackburn Rovers two months ago.

In his absence, summer signing Daniel Grimshaw has worn the gloves for Pool’s last nine Championship games, conceding only four goals in the last seven, and has earned the praise of head coach Critchley.

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The form of goalkeeper Daniel Grimshaw has 'delighted' Blackpool boss Neil Critchley

Maxwell returned to action on Tuesday, playing over an hour in a friendly draw at Huddersfield Town and feeling no ill effects.

It has left his boss facing a dilemma but, first and foremost, Critchley is delighted to welcome him back into the fold. Speaking yesterday, Critchley said: “It was good to see Maxi back, among others who got minutes in the game.

“In training you can’t replicate the scenarios of an actual game or the unpredictability of a game, so it was good to get him back on the field.

“We’ll see how everyone is in training today and think about the team ready for Luton on Saturday.”

As to whether Maxwell comes into contention to face the Hatters at Bloomfield Road tomorrow, Critchley told The Gazette: “That’s a conversation we will have between myself, Maxi and the medical department.

“Maxi is an experienced player, who knows how he is feeling physically and psychologically.

“It was beneficial for Maxi, and it is something to have a chat about and decide if and when he is ready to come back into the team.

“But I have been delighted with the way Grimmy has played, so that will be a tough decision.”

Critchley revealed that the past two months have been frustrating for Maxwell, 31, though he has remained an influential figure around the club.

The Pool boss added: “Maxi has been a fantastic leader and captain, who I trust implicitly.

“He has still played a captain’s role, even though he hasn’t been playing, but his biggest influence comes during the 90 minutes and he can’t have the same influence sitting in the stand.

“That’s frustrated Maxi because he isn’t used to being injured and missing games but I’m sure he’ll feel the benefits of the game on Tuesday.”

Centre-back Richard Keogh has been back in training this week after a four-match absence and is another who featured at Huddersfield.

Critchley added: “Kees played the first half and it’s good for him to get out there.

“He had trained for a couple of days prior to the game and we felt 45 minutes was the next logical step.”

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