Neil Critchley provides fitness update ahead of Blackpool's Good Friday encounter with Swindon Town

Blackpool boss admits it’s too soon to set a date for the return of injured pair Marvin Ekpiteta and Gary Madine.

Thursday, 1st April 2021, 11:33 am
Updated Thursday, 1st April 2021, 11:42 am

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Blackpool boss Neil Critchley insists fatigue is not a reason for dropped points

Ekpiteta hasn’t featured for the Seasiders since injuring his hamstring in the 1-0 win against Rochdale on February 16.

Madine, meanwhile, has suffered a number of setbacks in his bid to shake off a niggling groin issue, which has kept him out of action since the end of January.

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Both are said to be making good progress in their recoveries, but neither will feature during Blackpool’s Easter double-header against Swindon Town and Gillingham.

Head coach Neil Critchley said: “Marvin is back out on the grass now, but he’s not yet really done full training with us so it might be a little too soon for him. But he’s getting closer all the time.

“That will be a discussion that we have with the medical department and Marvin when we feel it’s the right time for him to step back into the squad.

“It’s gone well so far though and he’s desperate to get back involved. He’s not used to being injured, so this is new for him.

Ekpiteta is missing with a hamstring injury

“Gary has stepped back up his rehab this week and is starting to do more strengthening work. Hopefully we can get him back out on the grass soon and get him running again.

“He won’t be involved yet, Marvin is closer and that’s the case with James Husband as well.

“We’re hopeful we get one or two bodies back maybe for the weekend games, if not then certainly for the games afterwards.”

Dan Ballard will return from international duty, having started Northern Ireland’s games against the USA and Bulgaria.

But having played 74 minutes on Wednesday night, it remains to be seen whether the Seasiders will risk the Arsenal loanee from the start at the County Ground tomorrow.

Jordan Thorniley strained his calf during last week's draw against Plymouth Argyle and was brought off at half-time as a precaution. Brad Holmes, meanwhile, was missing after testing positive for Covid-19.

Elsewhere, Kevin Stewart is currently out with an ankle injury, while Matty Virtue, Keshi Anderson and CJ Hamilton are longer-term concerns.

Critchley also revealed this morning that Bez Lubala is currently unavailable due to a ‘club matter’.

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