Defence key to turnaround for Blackpool boss McDonald

Neil McDonald at Fleetwood on Saturday
Neil McDonald at Fleetwood on Saturday
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Neil McDonald thinks Blackpool’s new defensive toughness is the reason for their recent upturn in results.

The Seasiders, who had no game over the weekend due to scheduled hosts Bradford’s international call-ups, have enjoyed a three-match winning run.

It was business as usual for McDonald on Saturday as he watched this weekend’s opponents Coventry win at Fleetwood, despite media reports suggesting he could quit the Seasiders and reunite with Sam Allardyce at Sunderland.

Pool’s huge turnaround in form could sway McDonald’s decision after they won only one of his first 10 games in charge.

But after three wins without conceding a goal in open play, boss McDonald sounds delighted with life at Bloomfield Road.

He said: “Defenders are paid to keep clean sheets and every time we’ve kept one we’ve won the game.

“We are looking much tighter now and much more determined.

“Our attacking play is exciting, so if we can keep things tight I think we’ll win plenty of games.

“We’ve conceded too many this season and that’s something we’ve worked very hard on.

“Three times this season we haven’t conceded and we’ve won all three.

“That shows the harder we work the better we’ll be.”

Blackpool’s winning run has also coincided with the arrival of experienced midfielder David Norris.

Eyebrows were raised when Pool signed the out-of-contract 34-year-old but McDonald feels Norris has already made a huge difference.

The Pool boss added: “He sets the tone, wins the knockdowns and tries to play on the front foot.

“He’s infectious and leads the boys well. He’s been a huge influence on the team.”

Pool remain in the League One relegation zone, but a manager who believes in dividing the season into blocks of 10 games is now full of hope.

McDonald said: “In the first 10 games we had a slow start, particularly in the first five, but we’ve picked up since then.

“Eight points from 10 League games wasn’t good enough. We want to improve on that and we have started the second group of 10 well. It’s so important we push on now.”