Neil Critchley issues fresh update on the fitness of his squad ahead of Blackpool's final game of the regular season against Bristol Rovers

Neil Critchley has issued an update on the fitness of his Blackpool squad ahead of their final game of the regular season against Bristol Rovers on Sunday.

Friday, 7th May 2021, 12:43 pm
Updated Friday, 7th May 2021, 12:44 pm

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After guaranteeing their place in the top six in midweek, there is little at stake for the Seasiders this weekend other than final league position, which will determine who they play in the play-off semi-finals.

Bristol Rovers, meanwhile, have nothing to play for either having already been relegated to League Two.

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Critchley will be without a number of players once again, with eight players missing their midweek 2-0 win against Doncaster Rovers.

Daniel Gretarsson (shoulder), Ethan Robson (groin), Matty Virtue (ACL), Grant Ward (calf), CJ Hamilton (metatarsal) and Gary Madine (groin) are all sidelined at the minute.

Virtue and Hamilton are definitely out for the remainder of the campaign, while Bez Lubala is still unavailable due to a ‘club matter’.

Critchley provided an update on the other five when asked by The Gazette this morning.

Pool boss Neil Critchley

Daniel Gretarsson

“Daniel’s strength is improving and the mobility is improving in his shoulder,” Critchley said.

“It will come to a head in the next few days of what we decide to do with Daniel and his feelings will be taken into account as well.

“There’s a chance that by dislocating your shoulder it can happen again, so we have to take the decision whether we think it’s the right thing to strengthen that part of his body and carry on, or to operate now and hopefully alleviate the chance of it happening again in the future.

“After Sunday, we’ll sit down as a staff and with Daniel and make that decision.

“He’s a footballer and he sees semi-finals and maybe a Wembley opportunity, but we have to take his feelings into consideration but also what is right for him in terms of his career and the long-term future.”

Ethan Robson and Grant Ward

“Ethan has had a scan,” Critchley said. “He won’t make Sunday, but we’re hopeful he could be involved in the semi-final games. Wardy is the same as well.

“They won’t appear on Sunday, that’s for certain, they’ll definitely be out. But hopefully within the next week, if their bodies respond to the treatment and we can gently start introducing them back onto the grass, then we will see how they respond.

“I wouldn’t rule them out of the semi-final games yet.”

Sullay Kaikai

“Sullay is okay,” Critchley said. “He’s just been given a chance to rest because it’s more of a fatigue injury more than anything.

“He’s played a lot of games this season, probably more than in any other season he’s played before.

“There’s nothing untoward with Sullay, so it’s just about building him back up strength-wise and physically building his confidence back up.

“Hopefully he’ll be okay for next week.”

Gary Madine

“We’re hopeful Gary will do a bit of training today, which would be a massive plus for us,” Critchley said.

“If Gary can start getting back on the grass and integrate back in the group (that would be great), but we have to take it daily with him.

“Some days he feels better than others and he responds better to the work he’s been doing, but he’s obviously doing everything he can and he wants to get back involved as soon as possible and we’d love to have him back.”

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