Mark Howard or Chris Mafoumbi - that's Blackpool boss Terry McPhillips' number one dilemma

Terry McPhillips hopes to face a dilemma over which goalkeeper to choose for Blackpool’s trip to Coventry City this weekend.

Wednesday, 23rd January 2019, 11:19 pm
Updated Thursday, 24th January 2019, 12:33 am
Chris Mafoumbi has kept consecutive clean sheets for Blackpool
Chris Mafoumbi has kept consecutive clean sheets for Blackpool

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His opportunity came after Mark Howard suffered a groin injury during the FA Cup defeat to Arsenal, a knock the keeper is expected to have overcome in time for Saturday’s trip to the Ricoh Arena.

Manager McPhillips said: “I’m hoping to have that decision, I really am. It will be good to have that.

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“Mark’s close, so that means we should have a couple of players back and we haven’t picked up any other injuries as far as I know. It’s a fit and healthy squad but they’re going to have to play better than they did against Shrewsbury.”

Also likely to return to the fold is Ollie Turton, though McPhillips had expected the defender to be fit for last weekend’s goalless draw with the Shrews.

Instead he opted to give the right-back an extra week’s training. The Pool boss explained: “Ollie could have been on the bench but it’s five weeks to the day since he picked up the injury at Oxford. It’s a bit of an ask.

“He was nearly training with us but he got a bit of a setback. Ollie was in the squad but we elected just to give him an extra week.

“Chris Taylor has been out with a niggly one and we’ve given him more time as well.

“It’s a bit like with (Curtis) Tilt. He wanted to play against Portsmouth but we erred on the cautious side and he had a full week’s training, then he did what he did against Shrewsbury.

“Tilty was our best player. I don’t see why Ollie can’t do the same next week.I had a tough decision because Nick Anderton played last week in that position and did ever so well.

“But in the end I think Tilty has earned the right to get his place back and it was justified.”

Players are returning from injury at just the right time for Blackpool, who are struggling for goals.

The stalemate against Shrewsbury means they have now failed to score in five of their last seven outings, though they have plenty of opportunities to improve that record as the Coventry game is the first of three in eight days.

McPhillips said: “I’m hoping to pick from a large squad and get back to winning ways.

“We’ll train Thursday and Friday and then travel to Coventry, then it’s a big week for some of these lads who haven’t been playing to show what they’re all about.”