Neil Critchley: Blackpool must make most of quieter month

Neil Critchley says his Blackpool side must make the most of their lighter schedule before things inevitably turn hectic again.

By Matt Scrafton
Thursday, 20th January 2022, 8:00 am

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The Seasiders haven’t played since their disappointing FA Cup exit at League Two side Hartlepool United on January 8.

Critchley’s men, who return to action against Millwall at Bloomfield Road this Saturday, don’t have a midweek game scheduled for three weeks, though last Saturday’s postponed fixture at Barnsley is still to be rearranged.

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Only four games in January mean Neil Critchley has more time to plan and work on the training ground with his Blackpool players

Playing on Saturdays only pleases Critchley as it affords him more time on the training ground.

Pool’s head coach said: “At the moment this is the schedule, although that could change. We have an eye on the next few weeks, but we have quite a busy February period with (two) midweek games. If games start getting called off, where do those games go?

“There’s an international break at the end of March to factor in as well.

“We’ve got some time but we’ve got to make sure we use that time. Training time is important but we’ve got to manage the squad as well because we need to stay fresh to play our type of football until the end of the season.

“We have a busy period coming up, so we’ll have to get the balance right of training intensity and rest.”

Off the field, Blackpool continue to be linked with a host of players during what has rapidly become a busy January transfer window.

The Seasiders have made one new addition so far in striker Jake Beesley, while Owen Dale’s loan move has been made permanent.

Reflecting on the window so far, Critchley said: “I thought it was going to be quite quiet but it might not be, then again it might be. You just never know.

“There’s a lot of noise in January and sometimes you have to look past the mumbo-jumbo in the background.

“I’m happy with the players I’ve got here. I think one or two additions would help, but you also know that people can come looking at your players and enquire about them.

“You always have to try your very best to prepare for the ‘what-if?’ scenarios and that’s how we plan.

“We’re becoming more of an attractive proposition for players, though.

“At the beginning of the season, people from the outside might have looked at Blackpool and thought, ‘They’re going to struggle this season in the Championship and they could be candidates to get relegated straight back to League One’.

“I never felt that. The players never felt that. I think people look at us and see we’ve been very competitive in the Championship.

“They look at the way we play, the support we get, the atmosphere and feel this is a club moving in the right direction. That does become more attractive to players.”

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