‘Big club’ - What Blackpool boss Neil Critchley said about Reading ahead of League One clash

Neil Critchley (Photographer Dave Howarth/CameraSport)Neil Critchley (Photographer Dave Howarth/CameraSport)
Neil Critchley (Photographer Dave Howarth/CameraSport)
Blackpool manager Neil Critchley has made a glowing assessment of Reading ahead of their League One clash at Bloomfield Road.

Neil Critchley hopes that Blackpool can make it Bloomfield Road a ‘difficult place’ for Reading when the two face off in their League One clash on Saturday.

Both teams suffered relegation from the Championship and are hopeful that their stay in the third tier will not be a long one, though neither side have had it their own way so far.

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The Tangerines are below mid-table with two wins, three draws and two losses, and have netted just four goals in their opening seven matches. Reading meanwhile have suffered a three-point deduction and currently occupy the last relegation spot.

In spite of their points deduction and off-the-field issues, seem to be in good spirits given after recording back-to-back wins.

Despite a protest which involved tennis balls being thrown onto the pitch, the Berkshire outfit beat Blackpool’s Lancashire rivals Bolton Wanderers 2-1, and followed it up with a thumping 9-0 win over Exeter City in the EFL Trophy on Tuesday night.

When asked what to expect from Reading, he said: “They play with real energy, they’re an exuberant team on the front foot, and a good coach there and a clear way of playing.

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“Some youth with some experience in certain areas of the pitch and he had a great win against Bolton last weekend, backed up by an unbelievable result in the week in the EFL Trophy. He changed the team around as did Exeter obviously so that can sometimes not give a right representation of both teams there.

“We know that they’ve got good players and it is a big club at this level. Reading is still a big club and we know we’re in for a tough game.

“Our home form has been good and we’re unbeaten at home, we want Bloomfield Road to be a difficult place to come to when we’re together when we’re all as one on a Saturday afternoon, and it’s a tough place to come to.”

Critchley has already had the benefit of playing against Reading this year albeit with QPR and in the Championship against a different manager.

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He oversaw a 2-2 draw at the Madejski Stadium back in January in which Tyler Roberts scored a brace to cancel out Jeff Hendrick's opener. Paul Ince was manager at the time of that result, and since then they have gone in a diferent direction.

Reading - relegated alongside Blackpool - have had to use more of their academy players to complement their squad amidst some pre-season difficulties in registering new players. Ruben Selles is in charge at Reading now after a stint as caretaker manager of Southampton in the Premier League.

“Different players, different team, different coach and a different way of playing,” he said when asked how different of a prospect it will be from his previous meeting with them.

“A lot different to be honest with you. They're a different team than what they were last season.

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He added: “They've had issues off the pitch and they have had to change the squad around. You can see they've got a clear way of playing, they've got energy, youth and athleticism in the team.

“They're a tough team to play against and they've had some good results, they had a great result against Bolton last week and we know Bolton are one of the strongest teams in this league or will be.

“It was a great result for them and I'm sure that's given them confidence, and they'll want to come to Blackpool and back that up. We'll have to make sure we're at our best and stop that from happening.”

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