Cullen blow a big chance for Blackpool strikers

Cullen goes off at Doncaster
Cullen goes off at Doncaster

Blackpool boss Gary Bowyer has urged his forwards to step up and take their chance to shine, with Mark Cullen set to be sidelined for several weeks.

The striker’s blistering form at the end of last term helped fire the Seasiders back to League One, and after a goal-laden pre-season he looked set to carry on where he left off.

But Cullen picked up a hamstring injury in last Saturday’s 3-3 draw at Doncaster and now Bowyer is hoping his other strikers will grab the opportunity, like Callum Clarke did at the Keepmoat.

The Pool boss said: “Mark is going to be out for a couple of weeks and is obviously frustrated.

“He is looking sharp and did the hamstring when clean through on goal, which is disappointing for us but it gives someone else an opportunity. Callum came on and took the opportunity. He scored a fantastic goal.

“Mark is an out and out goalscorer. We saw that at the end of last season (he scored 10 of his 13 goals in the final three months) but we certainly have choices there, people who can come in. Callum has an eye for goal and I hope that is the first goal of many.”

Bowyer is happy the competition for places against Oldham tomorrow is healthy. He added: “We have got real competition.

“We had a meeting this week and told the players to embrace the competition because it creates a great environment in training. Everybody is striving to get in the team and get better every day, which is brilliant.”

Tomorrow’s opponents Oldham have lost every game this season, beaten by Oxford, Walsall and Wigan in the league, compounded with a Carabao Cup exit to Burton Albion.

But Bowyer is expecting John Sheridan’s men to arrive at Bloomfield Road with victory in mind.

He said: “The beauty of this game is that it is a local derby. It presents us with a great opportunity to get three points because we are at home, and we have built up some good performances and results here.

“We need that to continue but we are under no illusions about how tough it is going to be. Oldham have been nearly relegated and John has dug them out twice in recent years.

“We know they have some good, experienced players who have the know-how we possibly might be missing in one or two areas. But our youth and enthusiasm makes up for it.

“I expect them to come here to try to win. Whenever I have played against John Sheridan’s teams all he wants to do is win.

“We have three home games now (in eight days) and we are looking forward to it.”