Neil Critchley provides fitness update on Kevin Stewart after former Liverpool man misses Blackpool's win at Northampton
Neil Critchley is hopeful Kevin Stewart will be fit and raring to go for Blackpool’s final two games of the season despite missing Saturday’s win at Northampton Town.
The midfielder was a surprise absence from Pool’s squad at Sixfields having made his return from an ankle injury off the bench in their previous game at Sunderland.
The 27-year-old suffered a recurrence of that knock in training prior to the weekend’s 3-0 win, but Pool’s head coach isn’t overly concerned.
“Kevin felt his ankle a little bit on Thursday in training. He had an injection on Thursday and fingers crossed he’s okay,” Critchley told The Gazette.
“He was okay to be fair because he was telling me he was fit and wanted to come to Northampton because he felt he was ready for the bench.
“I made the decision to keep him at home because I want him right for the next two games coming up.
“Hopefully, fingers crossed, Kevin will be ready to go again on Monday.”
Elsewhere, Grant Ward was also absent having pulled his calf during the 1-0 win at Sunderland last week.
The 26-year-old is likely to be absent for a little bit longer than Stewart, although Critchley remains confident the midfielder will still play a part for the Seasiders should they confirm their place in the play-offs.
“Wardy is going to be a little bit longer,” Critchley said.
“He had a scan which showed he’s got a slight strain on his calf, but we’re hoping it’s not going to be too long.
“I wouldn’t want to put a timeframe on it, but if we can extend our season then hopefully Wardy would appear at some point as well.”
Pool were dealt another couple of injury blows on Saturday, with Sullay Kaikai pulling up at the end of the warm-up and Ethan Robson going down with what looked to be a groin injury during the first-half.
On Kaikai, Critchley said: “Right at the end of the warm-up he just felt something.
“He wanted to play, but I took that decision out of his hands. We assessed him, the physio did some work with him on the bed and he felt he had full power in his hamstring, but I wasn’t willing to take that risk.
“Sullay wanted to play, but I made the decision for him. I wasn’t going to risk it so I took him out of the team.”
Robson, meanwhile, was forced off the field and replaced by Jordan Gabriel, which saw Ollie Turton move into the middle of the park.
“Hopefully it’s not too bad or too serious,” Critchley said.
“He’s come off straight away, so hopefully that might help.
“Playing at Sunderland the other night was his first start since January, but the fact he can come in, in a game like that, to play 90 minutes like he did shows you everything about him as a person, how he looks after himself, how he trains, how professional he is.
“I’m disappointed for him, but he’s fantastic to work with and he’s great to have around.”
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