Michael Appleton on the importance of being proactive rather than reactive with his Blackpool subs

Blackpool boss Michael Appleton has stressed the importance of being proactive rather than reactive with his substitutions.

Thursday, 4th August 2022, 7:00 am

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Appleton’s predecessor Neil Critchley was known for biding his time with his changes, opting to see how the game played out before eventually turning to his bench.

But Appleton opted to take a different approach last week during the opening day victory against Reading, making two early changes when it was clear momentum was swinging the away side’s way.

A further three arrived later in the game, with clubs now permitted to make five substitutions as per a recent rule change.

“I think it’s important,” Appleton told The Gazette when asked about his early changes.

“The fact you can use five subs now is important to utilise that when you have the opportunity.

“I thought Tom Ince was having an influence on the game in the second-half and we had to do something about it and that’s why we brought Kenny (Dougall) on.

Appleton made quick changes off the bench during last week's win against Reading

“If there’s one thing Kenny can do it’s nullifying those things.

“We changed it to two at the base a little bit to try and see the game out and luckily we did.”

While the Seasiders were forced to endure a nervy second-half at Bloomfield Road last weekend, Appleton’s men got over the line to start the new season on a positive note.

There were plenty of positives to take, especially during the first-half where the hosts were well on top, playing some fluid football with debutant Lewis Fiorini pulling the strings from the middle of the pitch.

Getting off to a winning start in his second spell as Blackpool boss was crucial for Appleton, who now takes his side to Stoke City this weekend looking to make it two wins out of two.

“I was delighted with it,” he said.

“It would have been incredible to go 2 and 3-0 up, that would have made it a lot easier and we could have really enjoyed ourselves.

“It felt long in the second-half, I’m not going to lie. But I tried to keep calm and make sure I made the right decisions.”