Simon Grayson admits there are likely to be some disappointed faces in his Blackpool dressing room – but for all the right reasons.
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First-team regulars Curtis Tilt and Jordan Thompson were both left on the bench during Saturday’s comfortable 4-1 FA Cup win against Morecambe.
Maidstone United will provide Blackpool’s opponents in the second round, with the National League South outfit set to make the trip to Bloomfield Road on the weekend of November 29-December 1.
Grayson opted to name a strong side against League Two’s bottom side Morecambe last weekend, putting out the same starting XI that beat Peterborough United 4-3 in their latest league encounter.
That was despite Thompson’s return from a knee injury and Tilt being available after serving a one-match suspension.
Callum Guy could also count himself unfortunate only to be named among the substitutes after his man of the match display in the EFL Trophy win against Wolves’ Under-21s the previous Tuesday.
Explaining his selection, Grayson told The Gazette: “We wanted to try to get through to the next round of the FA Cup and now we want to get through that one as well to get to the third round.
“It was only fair the players who did well last week against Peterborough got the shirt again.
“There were some disappointed players, like Curtis Tilt and Jordan Thompson, as they didn’t even get on the pitch.
“But that was a reflection of where we are as a squad because we’ve got to make sure we reward people for good performances.
“The easiest thing to do would have been to bring on Jordan Thompson halfway through the second half as he’s going away on international duty next week.
“But Callum Guy played really well the other night and again influenced the game when he came on the pitch.
“The competition for places is key over a season and if players have got the shirt they must do enough to keep it.
“When you come on you’ve got to affect the game and if you’re not in the team you’ve got to do something about getting back in it.”
Matty Virtue was preferred in midfield to Guy, who impressed again in his cameo off the bench.
Yet Virtue repaid the manager’s faith with a strong performance from the start, even getting among the scorers in the first half.
When asked if Guy could consider himself unfortunate not to start, Grayson added: “I think so, but we wanted to keep the same shape and personnel that had got a real good result and performance against Peterborough.
“I think anybody who was in the team for the Peterborough game and then had been left out would have felt a bit harshly done to.
“But Callum came on and affected the game. He’s playing with a real enthusiasm at the minute. He’s powerful and has got a real good range of passing.”