Gary Bowyer admits Kyle Vassell has been a big miss for his Blackpool side.
The striker has missed Pool’s last four games since limping out of the 3-1 defeat to Wigan Athletic.
In Vassell’s absence, Blackpool have lost three out of four, the only win coming against Middlesbrough Under-21s in the Checkatrade Trophy.
The 25-year-old, who is Pool’s top scorer with six goals, is expected to be in contention for Saturday’s trip to Peterborough United but Bowyer is wary of rushing his star man back.
He said: “Kyle has been a big loss, there’s no doubt about that. It’s plain to see.
“We’re having to put players in unnatural positions, so we won’t push him too hard this week as we want to hope it’s right.”
The club has also received positive news on defender Clark Robertson. The centre-back’s foot injury was expected to keep him out until the New Year but Bowyer is hopeful he will be back sooner.
“We’ve had good news with Clark. I don’t think it’s any coincidence that while he’s been out of the team we’ve conceded the goals we have,” added Bowyer, who also revealed that Jimmy Ryan “suffered a bit of a dead leg” against Portsmouth
The Seasiders head to Peterborough in search of their first league win since the 2-1 victory over Bury more than a month ago.
Since then, Bowyer’s side have suffered back-to-back defeats on home turf and the manager admitted: “It’s not good enough.
“The manner in which we conceded those goals against Portsmouth wasn’t acceptable.
“In the last two games at home (Wigan and Portsmouth), we’ve not been competitive enough for my liking, so that will change this week.
“They weren’t good goals to concede, so guess what the topic of training will be this week? It’s all about our character now.”
Blackpool Under-18s will play West Ham United at Dagenham and Redbridge in the third round of the FA Youth Cup after goals by Rowan Roache and Ben Jacobson sealed a 2-0 win at Doncaster Rovers.