Rochdale v Blackpool AS IT HAPPENED: Updates from Spotland

Blackpool make the short trip to Spotland tonight to take on Rochdale with the aim of cementing their spot in the League One play-offs.

Tuesday, 20th April 2021, 4:30 pm
Updated Tuesday, 20th April 2021, 9:00 pm
The Seasiders have won five of their last six away games

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LIVE: Rochdale v Blackpool

Last updated: Tuesday, 20 April, 2021, 19:26

  • FT: Rochdale 1-0 Blackpool
  • Seasiders bidding to cement their spot in the League One play-offs
  • Neil Critchley’s side have won five of their last six away games

And welcome to our live blog, where we’ll bring you all the build-up, team news and action from Blackpool’s League One encounter against Rochdale.

Follow the blog for regular updates throughout the night.

A win for Blackpool tonight would go a long way to ensuring they finish in a play-off spot come the end of the League One season, which is rapidly approaching.

With just six games remaining, the Seasiders sit in sixth, three points ahead of seventh-placed Portsmouth with a game in hand still to play.

Neil Critchley’s side are currently enjoying a mightily impressive 16-game unbeaten run, a streak they’ve not managed since 1968. Even then, their run stretched across two seasons.

They’ve also won five of their last six away games, a run that could have been even better had they not thrown away a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 with promotion rivals Lincoln City.

Tonight they come up against a Rochdale side that are fighting for their lives at the wrong end of the table. Brian Barry-Murphy’s side remain in the bottom four despite their weekend win against Accrington Stanley.

Daniel Gretarsson is forced to leave the field after a warrior-like display in the victory over Sunderland

Blackpool will be without Daniel Gretarsson tonight after the defender dislocated his shoulder and suffered a dead leg during Saturday’s 1-0 win against Sunderland.

The centre-back (above) is set to undergo a scan to reveal the full extent of the injury, but Neil Critchley hasn’t ruled out Gretarsson still playing some part between now and the end of the season.

Elsewhere, Kevin Stewart, Keshi Anderson and Gary Madine are all making good progress in their recoveries from injury, but they remain sidelined for now. Matty Virtue and CJ Hamilton are out for the remainder of the season.

Bez Lubala, meanwhile, is unavailable due to a ‘club matter’.

Neil Critchley’s pre-match comments

Neil Critchley believes a European Super League would have 'scary' implications for the whole game.

“These are exciting games and a challenge to us all because you have to be motivated

“I think when there’s something on the game, you see the best of the players. It heightens the senses and the emotions and you can’t relax. If you are five or 10 per cent off, these teams are good enough to beat us.

“So it’s a great time and these are great games to look forward to.

“Rochdale are doing everything they can to get out of there. They have changed their approach, with a different system and a different emphasis on how they play, and they have found a way to get success.

“It’s like with AFC Wimbledon, who drew here recently and looked a good team. They went to the bottom and I was scratching my head and thinking, ‘they are not a bottom team’. They have since proved that and I think Rochdale are the same.

“They have become tougher to beat and have an attacking threat as well, so credit to their players and manager.”

Here’s the Rochdale side

Neil Critchley opts to make two changes to his side from the weekend win against Sunderland.

One is enforced, with Daniel Gretarsson dropping out after dislocating his shoulder and suffering a dead leg during Saturday’s victory.

Jordan Thorniley is the man to take his spot in the centre of defence alongside Dan Ballard.

Elliot Embleton, returning after being forced to miss out against his parent club at the weekend, comes back into the starting XI in place of Demetri Mitchell.

Kevin Stewart, Keshi Anderson and Gary Madine are all making good progress in their recovery from injury, but they remain out along with Matty Virtue and CJ Hamilton, who will miss the remainder of the season.

Bez Lubala continues to be unavailable due to a ‘club matter’.

Rochdale, who begin the night inside the bottom four, name an unchanged side from their 3-1 win against Accrington Stanley.

Former Seasider Ryan McLaughlin starts for the hosts, as does ex-AFC Fylde keeper Jay Lynch.

20 minutes until kick-off

And kick-off is moments away.

Can the Seasiders extend their unbeaten run and claim another win that would go a long way to cementing their place in the League One play-offs? We’ll soon find out.

Up the mighty Pool!

After both sets of players take the knee, Blackpool’s Kenny Dougall gets the game underway.

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