Morecambe v Blackpool: Team news and quotes from Neil Critchley ahead of Seasiders' final pre-season friendly

Blackpool make the short trip to Morecambe today for their final pre-season friendly of the summer.

Saturday, 31st July 2021, 9:00 am

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Neil Critchley s men take on the League One newcomers at Globe Arena (3pm kick-off) to continue their preparations for next weekend's league opener at Bristol City.

It's been a disruptive pre-season for the Seasiders following on from their historic promotion at Wembley at the end of May.

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A Covid outbreak among the squad has left Critchley without a host of players, having also forced the scheduled friendly against Rangers to be scrapped.

Nevertheless, Pool's head coach is hopeful of having Marvin Ekpiteta and Keshi Anderson back fit for today’s game.

The pair were left out of Blackpool’s squad for the midweek friendly against Burnley as a precaution, after picking up slight knocks.

Critchley admitted to The Gazette that he could have risked the duo on Tuesday night, but he felt it would have been too big a risk ahead of Blackpool’s league opener at Bristol City next weekend.

Blackpool boss Neil Critchley

The Seasiders are still depleted following the club’s recent Covid outbreak and were without 13 players for the midweek encounter against Burnley at Bloomfield Road.

Daniel Gretarsson (shoulder), Matty Virtue (ACL) and Gary Madine (groin) are all injured, alongside Ekpiteta and Anderson.

Teddy Howe and Joe Nuttall haven’t been utilised at all in pre-season, while Bez Lubala remains unavailable due to a ‘club matter’.

Elsewhere, Stuart Moore, Jordan Thorniley, Kenny Dougall, Kevin Stewart and Jordan Thorniley have all been absent in recent weeks.

“It’s not ideal the situation we’ve got," Critchley conceded to The Gazette.

“Some players came back after missing the Carlisle game on Saturday and we’re hopeful we’ll get one or two more back for the Morecambe game on Saturday.

“It can interrupt the flow of the game. A lot of the supporters don’t get to see what goes on at the training ground every day so it can be tough sometimes for them to know why we’ve made certain decisions.

“But there’s always a lot of thought that goes into the team we pick and how long they play and who comes on for who.

“It can get a little bit disruptive and it was a little bit against Burnley on Tuesday night, but I thought the players that came on for the last 25 minutes acquitted themselves well.”

Today’s opponents are gearing up for their campaign in League One, having won promotion via the fourth tier play-offs last season.

Derek Adams has since departed to join Bradford City, with former Oldham Athletic and Motherwell boss Stephen Robinson now in the hotseat.

Robinson’s men have beaten Workington and Kendal Town in pre-season, drawn with Barnsley and lost to Chorley and Burnley.

The Shrimps get their league campaign underway away at Ipswich Town next weekend.

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