No pressure on Blackpool at Sunderland insists coach Ian Dawes

Ian Dawes says Blackpool have nothing to lose at Sunderland
Ian Dawes says Blackpool have nothing to lose at Sunderland

All the pressure will be on promotion-chasing Sunderland tonight when Blackpool head to the Stadium of Light (7.45pm).

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That’s according to Pool’s first-team coach Ian Dawes, who believes the Seasiders will be “desperate” to put on a good show in the north-east.

Sunderland, who are fourth in League One, are under huge pressure to seal an instant return to the Championship following last season’s relegation, given the fan-base and budget at their disposal.

Dawes believes the Blackpool players can play with freedom and no pressure.

Speaking after Saturday’s 2-0 win over Walsall, he said: “We knew this was a different type of game than we’re going into on Tuesday and Saturday (at Charlton), completely different.

“That’s the difficulty of the league and I think that’s why you see so many inconsistent results because you’re not coming up against the same team every week – it’s different styles and different ways.

“We’ve got to go into the Sunderland game with confidence and with nothing to lose. They’re the ones with a lot of pressure, being at home, and I’m confident we will perform on the day.

“I think the staff at Sunderland will say every time they play at home it’s like everybody’s cup final.

“Our lads are looking forward to the occasion. They’re going to get rested up and they will be desperate to perform there.”

Terry McPhillips’ men cut the gap to the play-offs to just four points at the weekend.

The shutout against the Saddlers made it 15 league clean sheets for the season and 17 in total, the joint-best record in the division alongside leaders Luton Town.

Dawes added: “It’s five games unbeaten and the clean sheet record keeps on going.

“The lads just believe every game they go into that we will keep a clean sheet and we will make it hard for teams to break us down.

“What was pleasing against Walsall is that we created a lot more chances than we had done.

“I think we’ve been great until the final third in the last few weeks but Longy (recent signing Chris Long) was like a breath of fresh air.

“The competition for places is massive thanks to the January signings and Terry is going to have to earn his money now.

“It’s not just the youth of these lads on the bench, it’s their quality as well. The lads we’ve brought in have all got a lot of composure on the ball.

“When a game gets frantic, we’re not just bringing them on for their energy. We also get composure on the ball and you’ve seen that against Walsall.

“Moving forward they’re now going to be knocking on the door wanting starts, so the boss has got some difficult decisions to make.”