Middlesbrough v Blackpool: Team news, predicted line-up and quotes from Neil Critchley
Blackpool will be looking to get back to winning ways this weekend when they take to the road to take on Middlesbrough.
The Seasiders were unable to back up last weekend’s magnificent 1-0 win against Fulham in midweek, suffering a cruel 3-0 defeat to Huddersfield Town.
The scoreline didn’t tell the whole story though, as Neil Critchley’s side performed well in the main but were given a harsh lesson in finishing by Carlos Corberan’s men.
Nevertheless, it was another game where Blackpool failed to score at Bloomfield Road, where they’ve only found the back of the net once in the league so far this season.
It leaves the men in tangerine inside the bottom three, having lost four of their opening seven games.
As for Middlesbrough, they’ve also endured a slow start to the campaign, although they did claim a 2-0 win against bottom side Nottingham Forest on Wednesday night.
The two sides have already faced each other this season, Pool overcoming the Teesside outfit 3-0 in the first round of the League Cup at the start of August.
There’s a slim chance that Demetri Mitchell could come back into consideration following his six-week absence.
The winger has yet to kick a ball for the Seasiders this season having injured his knee during the pre-season friendly against Morecambe.
It was a cruel blow for the 24-year-old, who ended last season strongly and was Blackpool’s standout performer in pre-season.
But Mitchell returned to training on Sunday and is making good progress, although tomorrow’s trip to the Riverside could come too soon.
Elsewhere, Gary Madine will be available for selection again after making a surprise return from his groin problem as a substitute during Tuesday night’s defeat to Huddersfield.
Matty Virtue (ACL), Grant Ward (achilles), Owen Dale (foot) and CJ Hamilton (foot) all remain sidelined.
The likes of Oliver Casey and Reece James, meanwhile, will be hoping to force their way back into the squad after missing out against both Fulham and Huddersfield.
Elsewhere, Teddy Howe, Oliver Sarkic, Bez Lubala and Joe Nuttall will continue to be left out after not being named in Blackpool’s 25-man squad.
Neil Critchley’s pre-match comments
“There will be a lot of changes to their team from the cup game earlier in the season. In fact, both teams will be vastly different on Saturday.
“In some ways, that result in the cup might not help us because you know what Neil Warnock and his teams are like.
“You don’t stay in management for the period of time Neil has without being very competitive and he’s still got that competitive nature, you can see it.
“I was fortunate enough to spend a bit of time with Neil before the cup game and his enthusiasm and energy was quite uplifting.
“He was really full of energy that night and you can tell he doesn’t like losing games of football, so he’ll be looking to respond.
“Being at home, they’ll also be wanting to back up their result from beating Nottingham Forest on Wednesday night.”
“I went to the game, I travelled over to Nottingham to watch it.
“I thought it was a fantastic away performance from Middlesbrough. Neil set his team up to play on the break and they had lots of pace at the top end of the pitch and limited Forest to very few chances as well, so it was a really good away performance.
“They kept a clean sheet and played on Forest’s lack of confidence a little bit, which worked for them. That’s typical of Neil and his experience of playing in different types of games and scenarios.
“He knows what to do at the right time and that was an example of that on Wednesday night.”
Middlesbrough’s 2-0 win against Nottingham Forest at the City Ground on Wednesday night was only their second league win of the season.
It saw Neil Warnock’s side move up to 11th in the table on nine points, four more than the Seasiders.
The result also spelled the end for Chris Hughton’s reign at the City Ground, the 62-year-old facing the sack after losing six of his first seven games of the campaign.
Speaking after Boro’s midweek win, Warnock hinted that summer signing Martin Payero could be set to make his return on Saturday.
The Argentine missed the trip to the East Midlands with a knock to his ankle.
James Lea Siliki, meanwhile, hobbled off with a thigh injury against Forest on Wednesday night.
Deadline day signing Onel Hernandez scored his first goal for the club against Forest.
Pool’s predicted line-up (442): Maxwell, Gabriel, Keogh, Ekpiteta, Garbutt, Stewart, Wintle, Bowler, Anderson, Lavery, Yates
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