Neil Critchley explains why he left Josh Bowler and Shayne Lavery out of Blackpool's starting line-up for Cardiff City defeat

Neil Critchley has explained why he left the stars of Blackpool’s midweek Carabao Cup win out of his starting line-up for the game against Cardiff City.

Sunday, 15th August 2021, 9:00 am
Updated Sunday, 15th August 2021, 9:21 am

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The likes of Marvin Ekpiteta, Sonny Carey, Josh Bowler and Shayne Lavery all dropped down to the bench despite their eye-catching performances in the 3-0 midweek victory against Middlesbrough.

Fans were especially excited to see the latter two start for Pool in the league after impressing in the cup.

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But Critchley opted to revert back to the same side that drew with Bristol City in the club’s league opener, other than Kenny Dougall coming in for Reece James in midfield.

When asked how difficult it was leaving the likes of Bowler and Lavery out, Critchley told The Gazette: “Not so difficult, because you have to take everything into consideration.

“Players who were excellent on Wednesday, they put a lot into the game physically and emotionally, which you also have to take into account.

“Some of the players that played on Wednesday had disrupted seasons with Covid and hadn’t played many minutes.

Shayne Lavery was a late substitute during Blackpool's defeat to Cardiff yesterday

“To ask them to go again in a game like this with the intensity of it, you have to be very wary of that.”

Regardless of the starting XI Critchley names, Blackpool’s match day squad is beginning to look a lot stronger.

Daniel Gretarsson (shoulder), Kevin Stewart (ankle) and Gary Madine (groin) are all closing in on returns, leaving Demetri Mitchell (knee) and Matty Virtue (ACL) the only other players sidelined by injury.

“We’re going to need everyone, the squad is going to play its part through the season,” Critchley added.

“We’ve got another game on Tuesday, so we’ll go away, talk about the Cardiff game and look at Coventry and decide what is the best team for Tuesday.

“Every game is tough in this division and we know we’re going to have tough moments like we had against Cardiff, especially in the first-half.

“But it’s how we respond to those moments and how we respond against Coventry will be really interesting, I’m looking forward to it already.”

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