Grant Ward injury a worry for Blackpool boss Neil Critchley
Blackpool are sweating on the fitness of Grant Ward after he was stretchered off in the 2-2 draw at AFC Bournemouth.
The midfielder left proceedings midway through the second half at the Vitality Stadium, where Neil Critchley’s side recovered from two goals down to earn their second Championship point of the season.
Midfield has been a problem area for the Seasiders, with Kevin Stewart, Demetri Mitchell and Matty Virtue all currently injured or on the road back to fitness.
It means Critchley is hoping for some good news on Ward as Pool prepare for tomorrow’s Carabao Cup tie against Sunderland at Bloomfield Road.
Asked about the 26-year-old, head coach Critchley admitted: “That is a concern. It’s his Achilles, so if that is serious, then that would really take the gloss off what was a fantastic performance.
“Wardy’s been magnificent for us. He epitomises what the team is about – humility, honesty and work ethic.
“He’s been outstanding for us, so if we do get bad news, then that would spoil this day for me.”
As well as plotting Pool’s path on their return to the Championship, Critchley’s mind is also on the summer transfer window.
That closes at 11pm a week tomorrow, with the Seasiders still on the lookout for a specialist right-back following the departures of loanee Jordan Gabriel and Ollie Turton.
Callum Connolly is filling in for the time being, and although Critchley has said a player won’t be brought in for the sake of it, he acknowledged the clock is now ticking.
The Pool boss said: “The longer the window carries on and the less time you have, then the closer you need to get.
“We’re working, we’re working all the time, and we need to do one or two bits of business.
Hopefully in the next seven days maybe, maybe slightly longer, we can get that done.”
Blackpool go into tomorrow’s second-round tie looking to back up Saturday’s point which followed back-to-back home defeats.
And after showing plenty of spirit to get back on level terms with a Cherries side tipped to be in the promotion shake-up, Critchley believes his players take a lot of confidence from their comeback.
He said: “It should do, I hope it does. That’s something I keep stressing to the players – when we play like we can play, then we can match teams in this division.
“You’ve only got to look at the two goals from Dominic (Bournemouth striker Solanke) – they were outstanding goals.
“You get punished in this division against top players but the spirit, the will, the way we played as well... we played some good football at times.
“We knew they would have some of the ball but we limited them to having a lot of ball in their own half. Our organisation was outstanding.”
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