'It is what it is': Neil Critchley refuses to complain about Blackpool's far from ideal preparation for the Preston derby

You won’t hear Neil Critchley complaining about Blackpool’s less than ideal preparation for Saturday’s derby against Preston North End.

Wednesday, 20th October 2021, 10:00 am

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The Seasiders make the 480-mile round-trip to Reading tonight, aiming to get back to winning ways following Saturday’s defeat to Nottingham Forest.

Playing a day later than usual in midweek, it means Critchley’s men will only have one day preparation for the sold-out derby at the weekend, which is the first meeting with their fierce rivals in eight years.

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Preston, meanwhile, are also in action tonight, although they’re at home against Coventry City.

“It is what it is,” Critchley said.

“During the Championship, you know you’re going to face some games on a Tuesday night and you’re going to face some games on a Wednesday night. It just happens that we’re away.

“We have to take into account what we do after the game at Reading and how we recover as best as we can for Saturday.

Blackpool boss Neil Critchley

“There’s not a lot of recovery time for that game, but Preston play on Wednesday night as well albeit at home.

“Come Saturday at 3pm, we won’t be thinking about what’s happened previously, so it is what it is. We will just try and find the best solution to what is thrown in front of us.”

The Seasiders take on a Reading side tonight that suffered a miserable start to the campaign, losing four of their opening five games.

But Veljko Paunović’s men have since turned it around with five wins in six to move to the cusp of the Championship play-offs after their first 12 games.

Most of their games have been decided by the odd goal, which Critchley believes is a fair reflection of the division in general.

“That’s definitely reflected in the scorelines,” he said.

“If you take the obvious candidates out of the division, the Bournemouth’s, the West Brom’s and the Fulham’s of this world, you can almost throw a blanket over the rest and it would be very difficult to predict any result.

“Reading had a difficult start to the season, but their form of late has been outstanding. They’re not scoring many, but they’re not conceding many and they’re in form and they’re confident.

“I know I’ve said this before, but the timing of when you play teams can be crucial and we know we’re going to be facing another difficult game away from home, so we need to improve in certain areas from our performance on Saturday.”

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