Injured Gary Madine still having impact at Blackpool says Neil Critchley

Gary Madine has remained an influential player off the pitch for Blackpool during his frustrating injury lay-off.

Tuesday, 16th March 2021, 8:00 am

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The striker missed his ninth consecutive game at the weekend as Blackpool were held to a goalless draw by Fleetwood Town at Bloomfield Road.

Madine, who last played in the 5-0 thrashing of Wigan Athletic on January 26, continues to be sidelined by a niggling groin injury.

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Gary Madine heads goalwards on his most recent appearance for Blackpool - the 5-0 win at Wigan Athletic in January

It was hoped Madine’s lay-off would be short-term but it’s been a stop-start last few weeks for the forward.

While Madine can’t make an impact for the Seasiders on the pitch right now, he’s still managing to leave his mark.

Head coach Neil Critchley said ahead of tonight’s home clash with Burton Albion (7pm): “He’s in and around the dressing room and he’s been a big help off the pitch, I’ve got to say.

“He’s a good voice inside the dressing room for us. He’s been a leader off the pitch, even if he can’t be on the pitch. It’s frustrating for myself as well because he’s been a big, big player for us this season, so coming to this stage of the season you want these players on the pitch.

“Gary is just taking a little longer than we’d hoped. It’s day-to-day with Gary – one day he feels good and the next day he can just feel a little bit of irritation.

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“That’s proving a bit more complicated than we would have hoped.

“He can go a day or two where he’s feeling fine and he looks really good, but then when you push him that little bit further, it doesn’t feel quite right.

“It’s really frustrating for him. He’s desperate to get back out and play, he wants to be a part of the team and he’s itching to get back.”

Pool are also hoping for good news on Kevin Stewart, who had a scan yesterday to reveal the full extent of the ankle injury he suffered during Saturday’s game with their Fylde coast neighbours.

“He’s become really important for us, so he will be a miss,” Critchley added.

“To come from playing no football in the first half of the season, normally those players in a similar situation take weeks to get up to speed.

“The fact he’s come in and pretty much stayed in the team from day one and played virtually every minute of every game he’s been available for, that tells you what type of person and player he is and how he lives his life.

“As staff, we’re thinking ‘Is he going to be able to go game after game and will we need to look after him at some point? Is he going to dip physically?’ He hasn’t.

“That’s testament to his character and the way he lives his life.

“He’s quickly become a pivotal player in our team and he will be a miss, but we played the first half of the season without him and we’ve got players in our squad who can play in that position.”

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