Neil Critchley says CJ Hamilton has big Blackpool role to play for rest of season

Neil Critchley believes the returning CJ Hamilton will prove to be a big player between now and the end of the season for Blackpool.

Thursday, 4th March 2021, 8:00 am

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The winger made his first appearance for more than 10 weeks in Tuesday’s 1-1 home draw with Crewe Alexandra, playing almost half an hour off the bench.

It was a welcome return for the 25-year-old after his hamstring injury and head coach Critchley said: “It’s great to have him back.

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CJ Hamilton came off the bench against Crewe on Tuesday for his first Blackpool appearance since December 19.

“He’s been on the grass for a few weeks and came through 45 minutes in a behind-closed-doors game against Burnley.

“We felt this was the right time to bring him back into the squad and he brought what we know he’s got when he came on – he can stretch the game for you and he provides a real problem to the back players with his pace. We nearly benefited from that on a couple of occasions.”

But Critchley knows Blackpool must not risk another setback for Hamilton and added: “CJ is so difficult to do rehabilitation with.

“When you tell him to go at 70 per cent, his 70 per cent is still 100mph. He goes from 0-100 in a blink of an eye.

“When we’re trying to build him up and progress him steadily, he just covers the ground so quickly. We’ve missed him.

“We just have to make sure we manage this congested schedule because he’ll be a big player for us between now and the end of the season.”

The Seasiders were unable to claim a fourth straight victory on Tuesday, when Dan Ballard’s first goal for the club was cancelled out late on by Stephen Walker.

Critchley had no complaints. “We want to win every game,” he said. “When you’re 1-0 up at home you want to see the game out.

“We’ve already seen we can defend a lead this season but we’ve not done that.

“But I have to say Crewe played well. There’s plenty of quality in the team.

“I’m sure they’ll be thinking they deserved something out of the game and I couldn’t argue with that.

“But we want to win every game, so we move on to Wimbledon on Saturday now.”

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