James Husband discusses the significance of having the second leg of Blackpool's play-off semi-final against Oxford United at Bloomfield Road
Playing the decisive second leg at Bloomfield Road could be considered a major advantage for Blackpool – but James Husband doesn’t necessarily see it that way.
The Seasiders welcome Oxford United to the Fylde coast for the all-important second leg on Friday night (7.45pm).
Firstly, Neil Critchley’s men make the trip to the Kassam Stadium tomorrow evening (6pm) for the opening leg of their semi-final encounter.
Having the deciding leg on home turf could make all the difference, especially now fans – albeit limited to 4,000 – are able to return.
However, the Seasiders have demonstrated all season they’re more than capable of producing victories irrespective of whether they’re playing at home or away.
Their away record during the 46-game campaign was the sixth best in League One, claiming just six fewer points than they did at Bloomfield Road.
Pool also have the advantage of having already beaten Oxford on their own patch, securing a 2-0 win at the Kassam back in March.
When asked if home advantage for the second leg could prove key, Husband said: “I don’t think we’re thinking like that.
“We have two games to beat them. We want to win the first game and we want to win the second game.
“Don’t get me wrong, it’s going to be very hard and very difficult to go to a place like Oxford, but we feel we’re more than capable of getting the two results we need.
“I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t bothered about who we’d face.
“Don’t get me wrong, we fancy ourselves against any team in the league but there are certain teams you might want to avoid over two games in quick succession.
“The league doesn’t lie, we’re the third best team in the league, although we obviously believe better.”
Pool beat Bristol Rovers on the final day of the campaign to secure third place and set up a two-legged semi-final with Oxford.
The win, the club’s fourth on the spin without conceding a goal, saw Critchley’s side finish the campaign on 80 points.
It’s the first time Pool have reached that tally since 2007, when they also finished third in the third tier before securing promotion to the Championship via the play-offs.
“Considering where we were after nine games, I’ve never seen a turnaround like it,” Husband said of Blackpool’s third-placed finish.
“Since then we’ve amassed the most points of any team in the league from November onwards, which is ridiculous.
“The consistency levels have been ridiculous but we’ve not changed, we’ve done the same thing every single day and every single week. We’ve ground it out.
“The boys that have come in have been fantastic but there’s no getting away from the fact the job isn’t done yet, nowhere near.
“There are two massive games coming up in the next few weeks and hopefully another, so we’ll take it from there.”
Thanks for reading. If you value what we do and are able to support us, a digital subscription is just £1 for your first month. Try us today by clicking here