Gillingham v Blackpool: Terry McPhillips expected to make more changes

Paudie O'Connor will serve the second game of this three-match suspension tonight
Paudie O'Connor will serve the second game of this three-match suspension tonight

Blackpool are again expected to make a number of changes at Gillingham tonight as they prepare for the first of three mammoth long away trips.

READ MORE: Blackpool fans' group hopes end is in sight after year of frustration since court ruled against Oyston


The Seasiders make the 270-mile trip to the Priestfield Stadium as they look to get back to winning ways after Saturday’s 3-0 home defeat to Bristol Rovers.

It looked to be one game too far for Terry McPhillips’ men, who appeared physically exhausted after the previous week’s efforts.

On the back of their 3-2 Fylde coast derby defeat to Fleetwood Town, Blackpool then pushed Arsenal all the way in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday, eventually going down to a narrow 2-1 defeat at the Emirates.

But there is to be no rest for Blackpool, who are already depleted by injuries and suspensions, as they face four games in the space of just 11 days.

Three of them are long journeys, too, with away games at Exeter City and Southend United on the horizon with a Checkatrade Trophy clash at home to Accrington Stanley sandwiched in between.

McPhillips said: “We’ll dust ourselves down and have a little chat with some of the other lads on the way down to Gillingham, but I imagine there will be some changes and we will see if we can get a win.

“I don’t think you can carry on and carry on, so it’s right to say in the next couple of weeks the squad will get used. It will be up to them to see how they do.

“We’ve had a spell of cup games where we were changing five, sometimes even eight or nine players, so I see that happening in the next couple of weeks because we’ve got so many games and so much travel.

“The lads will get their chance again and it’s up to them who get the shirt next time to produce the goods.

“That’s the same on Saturday, the following Tuesday and then the following Saturday. But we go to Gillingham, Exeter and Southend in three of our next four games.”

Gillingham come into tonight’s game in fine form, having won their last two games 4-0 and 3-0, with the latter result coming against Fleetwood on Saturday.

“You want to play teams when they’re on a poor run but they’ve obviously picked up some points,” McPhillips added. “All the games are so hard, it’s a really fine line.

“Gillingham, it’s going to be tough, no doubt about it. They’ve won their last two home games 7-0 if you like but that’s football, every game is different.

“The schedule for us is horrendous but it’s what we’ve got.

“We won’t be getting aeroplanes to these places and I don’t think we’ll be getting trains, we’ll be getting on the bus.

“It’s a trek just to travel down there, it takes it out of you and travelling back.

“But recovery is sort of the new thing in football so we have got to recover from this disappointment, we’ll have to recover from the physical effort we put in which was massive and we’ll just have to go again.

“It’s a big challenge for us now to get ourselves on another run, hopefully starting on Tuesday, and push up that table.”

Blackpool will again be without suspended duo Paudie O’Connor and Armand Gnanduillet for tonight’s fixture, while the game is also likely to come too soon for injured pair Mark Howard and Donervon Daniels.

“I don’t think they’re far away, it’s nothing major for both of them,” McPhillips said.

“Donervon was touch and go for Saturday but we were never going to play Mark. But they’re both getting better.

“We will see and hopefully we can get them both back for Tuesday. If not, someone else will get a go.”