Seasiders’ striker ready for a return to training?

Mark Cullen hasn't figured since his injury at Doncaster Rovers last month
Mark Cullen hasn't figured since his injury at Doncaster Rovers last month
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Blackpool boss Gary Bowyer expects injured forward Mark Cullen to be back in training next week.

Cullen has been sidelined with a hamstring injury gained when sprinting one-on-one with the keeper in last month’s 3-3 draw at Doncaster Rovers.

Fellow forward Armand Gnanduillet is also out of action so, with the exception of long-term injury absentee Jim McAlister, Bowyer says the remainder of his squad are all OK for today’s trip to Bristol Rovers.

He said: “Cullen is certainly getting closer, we expect him to join back training next week.

“Armand has had a couple of setbacks in training so we are not going to rush him at this moment in time.

“Apart from that, touch wood, we have been OK.”

Bowyer also wared up for this afternoon’s match by hailing the job done by his Rovers counterpart, Darrell Clarke.

Clarke took over in 2014 and, after the Gas went down to the Conference, he has since secured double promotions to League Two and League One.

The Blackpool chief might not have met Clarke before but there will be a warm handshake in the dugout and a few laughs shared with Clarke’s assistant, Marcus Stewart, who is a more familar face.

“Outstanding,” Bowyer said of Clarke’s work.

“To be involved when they got relegated to then get back up first time of asking from the Conference, then League Two.

“I’ve never met Darrell I don’t think but I know his assistant Marcus Stewart who is a fantastic lad.

“A great coach, he was on our (UEFA) Pro Licence; a fantastic character and it is no surprise that they have been as successful with him on board.”

Blackpool head to Rovers this afternoon looking to continue their recent form in front of goal.

Nine goals from outside the area this afternoon is the highest tally across the top four divisions in the country.

However, Bowyer joked that he’d like them to experience the joy of assists too.

He said: “It means they don’t listen to the manager when he is telling them to get closer to the goal and try and slip people in and enjoy assisting people.

“But in all seriousness it just shows us the quality we have got in the squad.

“They have got an eye for goal and our goalkeeping coach, Dave Timmins, is very good with them in that he goes round saying if you do not buy a ticket you can’t win a prize.

“People are buying tickets, having a right good smack at it and it is flying in.”