Neil Critchley hoping to welcome back two or three faces for Blackpool's EFL Trophy group game against Leeds United's Under-21s
Neil Critchley is hopeful of being able to welcome back two or three players for Blackpool’s final EFL Trophy group game against Leeds United’s Under-21s tomorrow.
The Seasiders take on Leeds’ youngsters knowing a win will secure their passage through to the knockout stage of the competition.
While Ethan Robson returns from suspension, Dan Ballard will miss out as the defender is now away on international duty with Northern Ireland.
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Elsewhere, there’s a chance Keshi Anderson and Oliver Sarkic could return from injury, but the likes of Luke Garbutt, MJ Williams, Matty Virtue and Ben Woodburn will all be missing.
“Ethan is eligible, so he’ll come into the reckoning to start the game,” Critchley said.
“Keshi Anderson will have a chance, Oli Sarkic will have a chance. We’re training today and Ben Woodburn will train, but he’s not eligible because he’s already played for Liverpool in the competition.
“I think this game will come too soon for Luke Garbutt, but he’s back on the pitch and there’s a chance of him training in the next few days.
“Matty and Jordan are still out, but it’s beginning to look a bit healthier, the treatment room, which is always a positive sign.”
Blackpool have drawn their opening two group games against Barrow and Accrington Stanley, while Leeds have picked up one point from their opening two encounters.
Given his background in academy coaching with Liverpool, Critchley is well aware of the threats Leeds will pose at Bloomfield Road.
“They’ve got some really good younger players, they’ve recruited quite a lot in the last couple of years and they’ve just moved into Category One status,” Critchley added.
“Their academy has always had a history of producing players, but they’re obviously trying to get back to where they once were in terms of academy status and they have some good, young talented players.
“They try and play a similar way to the first-team, so it will be a difficult game.
“We’re not quite sure what team they’ll pick because it’s the international window, so will some of the first-team players drop down and play? Possibly.
“It’s hard to prepare for what actual team will play, but we know the style of the team we’re going to face.
“They press, they’re quite man-to-man orientated in terms of their defence and they play fast, aggressive, attacking football.
“They’ve got players that can play, technical players that can handle the ball and they can make it extremely difficult for you.
“With my background working with younger players, I know if you allow them to play and get into a rhythm then they can cause you problems.”