Former Norwich City and West Ham striker Dean Ashton assesses Blackpool’s chances after opening day win against Reading

Former Norwich City and West Ham striker Dean Ashton believes Blackpool could still be in for a tough season despite their opening day win against Reading.

Monday, 1st August 2022, 3:30 pm
Updated Monday, 1st August 2022, 3:48 pm

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Michael Appleton’s side got the new campaign off to a flying start with a 1-0 win against the Royals on Saturday thanks to Callum Connolly’s early strike.

But after a summer of change caused by Neil Critchley’s surprise exit, Ashton - speaking on ITV’s new EFL highlights show - suggested the Seasiders will do well to maintain their Championship status this season.

“Michael Appleton feels like he deserves to be a manager in this league but he’s got big shoes to fill after Neil Critchley’s exit,” presenter Hugh Woozencroft said.

“Also going back, because he probably feels like he has something to prove,” Ashton replied.

“For Blackpool’s goal, (Josh) Bowler has the initial shot and he was a brilliant player for them last season and was decent again on the opening day.

“Michael will just be delighted to get off to a good start because some people may feel that Blackpool could struggle this season and they may do.

Callum Connolly's goal helped the Seasiders get off to a winning start on Saturday

“But (they picked up a win) against a Reading side that you have to start worrying about, especially with Lucas Joao getting himself injured in pre-season so I think it’s going to be a tough season for Paul Ince.”

The Seasiders will be looking to make it two wins out of two next week when they make the trip to the bet365 Stadium to face Stoke City.

Michael O’Neill’s side lost 2-0 away to Millwall on the opening day.