Kenny Dougall has not played for Blackpool since Wembley but Neil Critchley won't rule him out of Bristol City opener

Kenny Dougall hasn’t played a single minute of Blackpool’s pre-season friendlies but Neil Critchley has refused to rule him out of Saturday’s league opener at Bristol City.

Tuesday, 3rd August 2021, 8:00 am

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Last season’s play-off hero returned to training late this summer following his international exploits with Australia after the Wembley final.

The 28-year-old, who reported back for training on July 12, has since picked up a knee injury that has kept him out of the Seasiders’ friendlies.

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Kenny Dougall has missed all Blackpool's pre-season games and last played for the club in the play-off final more than two months ago, when he scored twice

“Kenny felt his knee in a block tackle in training,” head coach Critchley told The Gazette.

“He’s been out, doing some running and twisting and turning, so we’re hopeful we can step up his rehab this week.

“He’s probably missed just over a week now of training, but if he comes through this week okay then I’ve not ruled him out of next week, that’s for certain.”

Dougall’s return would be a timely one, with Blackpool’s Championship campaign getting under way in just four days’ time.

The Seasiders were also boosted by the return of Marvin Ekpiteta and Keshi Anderson for Saturday’s draw at Morecambe.

The pair featured after missing the previous pre-season outing against Burnley with minor knocks.

Elsewhere, Stuart Moore, Oliver Casey, Kevin Stewart and Josh Bowler also returned to the fold at Morecambe.

“Those players have trained all week and it was nice for them to pick up some minutes,” Critchley added.

“I thought the subs when they came on, they all did well. Shayne (Lavery) was a real handful at the top end of the pitch, worked the goalkeeper a couple of times within a few minutes and Tyreece (John-Jules) showed some really nice touches between the lines.

“Kevin gives you that presence in the middle of the pitch and it’s great to have Marvin back.

“Josh also showed some lovely moments coming off the line. I was really pleased with them.”

Critchley could also have Daniel Gretarsson and Gary Madine back in training soon, with the pair making good progress following their summer operations.

“Daniel is seeing the specialist on Monday or Tuesday but he’s looking really good,” Critchley said on Saturday.

“He’s joined in some parts of training, non-contact. He’s not been involved in the team sessions yet but anything that’s been non-contact, he’s joined in and looked strong.

“If we get good news this week, he’ll be able to join back in training which would be a real bonus for me.

“Gary has been doing some ball work and some running, so he’s been really positive.

“He’s getting closer now to joining back in team training, which would be a big bonus to start getting these players back at just the right time.”