Simon Grayson has warned Blackpool’s fringe players their careers at Bloomfield Road will be over unless they buck their ideas up.
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The Pool boss gave his team a public dressing down following Wednesday’s 3-1 EFL Trophy defeat by Scunthorpe United.
Grayson made eight changes to his starting side but those who came into the team failed to grasp their opportunity.
It’s not the first time that has happened this season, with a much-changed Blackpool side producing a similarly abject display away to Carlisle United in the same competition last month.
Grayson said: “You make warnings to players before games about what we’re wanting them to do and then we make warnings to players at half-time about what might happen to people if they don’t apply themselves with their careers at this football club.
“Ultimately we’ve lost a game we ought to have done a lot, lot better in.
“Players have played themselves out of the team, not just in this game.
“I said to them, ‘You’re playing yourselves out of the football club.’
“I’m going to have an opportunity in January to probably turn things around with new players, and if people want to be a part of it they’ve got to do a lot, lot better.
“If you don’t want to be a part of it, then I’ll see you later and I’ll replace you with someone who wants to be here.”
When asked if it was perhaps a case of the fringe players trying too hard to impress, Grayson issued a strong rebuttal.
“No, it isn’t to do with trying too hard because it’s the total opposite end of the spectrum. They weren’t trying hard enough to run around, never mind trying too hard.
“Just take a look at (Scunthorpe’s) Lee Novak, running the channels, working hard; James Perch and Matty Lund in midfield winning second balls. We never did any of that.
“You have to do the basics right in any football match. You’ve got to stop the opposition from playing and then, when you get the ball, enjoy having the ball and run forward, run back.
“People would give their right arm to play professional football in a game like that.
“I actually wanted to put the 16-year-old kid on (Tony Weston) because he would at least have run around and enjoyed what he was doing. But we had used all our subs up by then anyway.
“It was just that the sheer attitude and application was wrong.
“We wanted to treat this competition really seriously because some players have never played at Wembley.
“Yes, we were still a few games away from doing that but it’s a fantastic opportunity to play at Wembley.
“Ultimately supporters are disappointed and I’m disappointed for the supporters because that wasn’t a reflection of what we’ve been doing over the last few weeks.
“It wasn’t that we got our tactics wrong; it wasn’t from us being under-prepared and not wanting to go through.
“That team that was out there in the first half would be playing in League One, without a shadow of a doubt.
“But play like that and they’ll be playing further down than the Football League.”