It's time to move on and forget Blackpool's disruptive pre-season campaign, says Shayne Lavery
Shayne Lavery believes Blackpool must move on and forget about their disruptive pre-season campaign.
The Seasiders had a shorter break than every other side in the Championship owing to their involvement in the League One play-offs last season.
Once Neil Critchley’s men did return, Covid broke out within the squad, with a number of players testing positive or having to isolate having come into contact with others.
The outbreak caused the club’s glamour friendly against Scottish champions Rangers to be scrapped at the last minute.
Pool, who are already without the likes of Daniel Gretarsson, Matty Virtue and Gary Madine through injury, then suffered further setbacks to Kevin Stewart and Demetri Mitchell.
It’s been far from the ideal preparation for Saturday’s curtain raiser at Bristol City, but Lavery insists his side won’t be using it as an excuse.
“It’s been a disruptive pre-season, but we’ve just got to get on with it,” the 22-year-old summer signing told The Gazette.
“It’s going to be a tough season because there are some very good teams in the league, so we’ve got to park what’s happened in pre-season and give it our all on Saturday and see what happens.
“I’m feeling very good fitness-wise. It was obviously a tough game against Man City but I will recover and get ready for the main test on Saturday.
“Everyone is looking forward to it and hopefully we can get off to a positive start.
“I’ve loved my time since I’ve been here. The lads and the people around the club have been great with me and I’m really looking forward to getting going in the league now.”
Lavery was in magnificent form during Tuesday night’s friendly against Man City, impressing with tireless running and pressing from the front.
The Northern Ireland international forced a mistake out of last season’s Premier League player of the year Ruben Dias, robbing the defender of the ball before being hauled down to the ground inside the box - winning a penalty which Luke Garbutt dispatched with aplomb.
Despite competing well in the first-half, where they recovered from going a goal down after just three minutes to level through Garbutt’s spot kick, Pool eventually succumbed to a 4-1 defeat.
“We knew coming into the game it was going to be tough. The gaffer told us it was about getting some minutes for some of the lads to get a good runout,” Lavery said.
“It was a very good test against a very, very good team.
“We reacted well to the early goal. It was a bit fortunate for them in how it happened, but the way we reacted was brilliant.
“We had a couple of other chances other than the penalty we scored in the first-half, so it was pleasing and quite enjoyable playing against such high level opposition.
“It’s a great test. We all know these are the best players in the world, so it was great to be playing in this sort of game so early on into my Blackpool career.
“For the penalty, I just wanted to get on the turn and take them on in a one-vs-one situation and I think I did that pretty well.
“He clipped me and brought me down and it was a pretty clear penalty.”
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