Neil Critchley provides detailed injury update ahead of Blackpool's return to action against Nottingham Forest
Blackpool should have a far greater pool of players to choose from when they make their return to action against Nottingham Forest.
The Seasiders’ two-and-a-half week break has allowed a number of previously injured players to get back to full fitness.
Neil Critchley’s side were without eight players the last time they played, which was the goalless draw against Sheffield United in mid-March - but a number of those players should now come back into contention.
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“Some of the players are certainly closer,” Pool’s head coach said.
“Chris Maxwell, Richard Keogh, Luke Garbutt, Keshi Anderson…those players have all been in and around training, some more than others.
“Grant Ward has been doing some running on the grass with Sonny Carey but they’re nowhere near as close as the other ones I mentioned.
“We’ve got quite a lot of numbers now. Matty Virtue had a bit more time on the grass and played some football as well, which has been brilliant for him.
“We’ve got some closer than others, but we’ve got strength in numbers which we’ll probably need for a lot of games coming up.”
Jordan Gabriel is also making good progress in his recovery from a hamstring injury, although he won’t feature against his former club Forest on Saturday.
“He’s been doing some running,” Critchley added.
“He won’t be available for this weekend, but hopefully he won’t be too far away.”
Kenny Dougall and Shayne Lavery have also trained this week having returned from international duty with Australia and Northern Ireland respectively.
Dougall didn’t feature in Australia’s back-to-back qualifiers, while Lavery started one friendly for Northern Ireland and came off the bench in the other.
“Kenny is fine,” Critchley said.
“He got back home on Wednesday and he trained with us yesterday so he’s fine.
“Shayne trained with us yesterday as well. Obviously he had some game time but both players are fine and fit, which is always the concern when they go away on international duty because you’re sitting there with your fingers crossed.
“But they’ve both come back fit and healthy so that’s a bonus as well.”
The Seasiders have managed to make the most of their two-and-a-half weeks off, playing two behind-closed-doors friendlies to help players get vital minutes under their belts.
“We’ve managed to do that, we had two games. One in the first week, one this week,” Critchley said.
“It’s been invaluable. Some of the players managed to play 90 minutes in one of the games, some managed to get 45 minutes they needed and everyone has come through that, we’ve had no injury problems or issues.
“The squad, in terms of numbers, is in a better place than what it was two and a half weeks ago.
“We’ve been really pleased with the way we’ve managed to get some football into the lads who weren’t playing as much. The ones who have been playing regularly have had a little bit while the ones coming back from injury have had some time on the grass as well.
“Hopefully we will see the benefit of that and we hope we’ve utilised the time wisely.”