Neil Critchley delighted to carry Blackpool's good form into League One play-offs following final day victory against Bristol Rovers

Neil Critchley is delighted Blackpool will carry their good form into the League One play-offs.

Sunday, 9th May 2021, 3:36 pm
Updated Sunday, 9th May 2021, 3:44 pm

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It comes after the Seasiders secured a third-placed finish in the table with a final day 1-0 victory against Bristol Rovers

Ellis Simms’ second-half strike proved to be the difference, as the Everton loanee scored within three minutes of coming off the bench.

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The win, Blackpool’s fourth on the bounce without conceding a goal, sets up a play-off semi-final against Oxford United.

Karl Robinson’s side leapfrogged Portsmouth into sixth place with a 4-0 thrashing of Burton Albion, while Pompey were beaten 1-0 at home by Accrington Stanley.

“We got the job done today,” Critchley said of today’s win.

“I thought it was a good game, quite an entertaining game. Bristol Rovers didn’t look like a team bottom of the table or a side that have been relegated.

Blackpool boss Neil Critchley

“The spirit they showed was excellent but I thought we played well and created some excellent chances in the first-half, when we played some really good football.

“We should have been winning at half-time, Bristol Rovers had some good chances of their own in the second-half but we scored a really good goal (to win the game).

“We’ve given some players some vital minutes, we’ve managed to rest a few but we’ve still won the game and still kept a clean sheet, which makes it four wins on the bounce and four straight clean sheets.

“We go into the play-offs in really good form and to reach 80 points after the start we had is a fantastic effort from everybody.”

There was little at stake for Blackpool today against the already-relegated Bristol Rovers after they booked their place in the play-offs thanks to their midweek win against Doncaster Rovers.

That allowed Critchley to make six changes to his side, handing minutes to the likes of Marvin Ekpiteta, Kevin Stewart and Keshi Anderson, while Chris Maxwell, Dan Ballard, Luke Garbutt and Jerry Yates were all rested.

The day was even capped off when Gary Madine returned from a four-month absence to make a late cameo off the bench.

Critchley, who also handed a first ever start to 18-year-old Brad Holmes, was delighted his side were able to enjoy a calm final day to the regular season.

“We’re certainly glad we got the job done on Tuesday night, because we wouldn’t have wanted to be in Portsmouth’s situation with what’s happened to them,” Pool’s head coach said.

“When you’re playing Accrington, you know what John Coleman’s team is all about and what they can produce, so we didn’t want to be in a similar situation.

“Thankfully we’ve got the balance right between resting a few, giving some players minutes but also putting a strong enough team out to win the game and thankfully we’ve done that.”

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