My Blackpool side will get better, vows McDonald

Mark Cullen scores his second at Colchester
Mark Cullen scores his second at Colchester
Have your say

Neil McDonald insisted there is much more to come from his Blackpool side after they drew their League One opener 2-2 at Colchester.

The Seasiders manager spoke to The Gazette for the first time after two goals from Mark Cullen earned a point on the road in Essex.

It was a game of two halves for Pool, who were well on top in the first period and led 2-1 at half-time but were then forced to hold on in a difficult second half.

But the new boss was full of praise for his squad, promising supporters this is just the beginning.

“We can expect more from this Blackpool team,” McDonald said, having not been allowed to speak to The Gazette throughout pre-season.

“When you come away from home – it doesn’t matter where – you can be pleased and should be encouraged to get a result. There’s lots of work to be done but I think they can do it.

“I thought the lads performed really well and should have been more than 2-1 up at half-time.

“It became a little bit of a battle in the second half and I was slightly disappointed we didn’t win the knockdowns as much to stop the flow.

“But to come out with a point after six weeks of working and getting to know each other is a great return away from home.

“I said to them in the changing room that they are a credit to themselves.

“Such a large number of players have come in and for them to gel together so quickly is great. I’m really proud of them.”

Pool’s starting 11 included eight debutants, with three more fresh faces in the matchday squad.

But it was striker Cullen, a £180,000 signing from Luton, who caught the eye, tapping in a Bright Samuel cross before scoring a superb solo effort on the stroke of half-time to restore Pool’s lead.

And the manager was full of praise for his summer capture. “Mark is a goalscorer and he has scored them all through pre-season,” he said.

“Both his goals he took like a real poacher. His first looked a tap-in but his positioning was superb. For the second he pulled off into space and finished well.”

Another debutant who impressed was Gazette star man Colin Doyle. A shoulder injury saw the keeper replaced on 72 minutes, having made three vital blocks in a commanding display.

McDonald explained: “His shoulder has popped out and is back in. We’ll see how it is on Monday but hopefully he’ll be fine.

“I thought he was brilliant, He was beaten by a shot into the top corner which I’m not sure many keepers would have saved.

“He also made some very good saves to keep us in the game.

“Kyle Letheran came on and he’s very capable as well. Both our keepers are number ones and are ready to play.”