Swindon Town v Blackpool AS IT HAPPENED: Updates from the County Ground

Blackpool will be aiming to reclaim their spot in the League One play-offs when they take on Swindon Town at the County Ground today.

Friday, 2nd April 2021, 12:30 pm
Updated Friday, 2nd April 2021, 4:59 pm
Blackpool have won their last four away games

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LIVE: Swindon Town v Blackpool

Last updated: Friday, 02 April, 2021, 15:32

  • FT: Swindon Town 0-2 Blackpool
  • Seasiders bidding to return to League One play-off spots
  • Neil Critchley’s side unbeaten in their last 11 games, won four on the spin away from home
  • Swindon hovering nervously above relegation zone

And welcome to today’s live blog, where we’ll bring you all the build-up, team news and action from Blackpool’s Good Friday encounter against Swindon Town.

Following the blog for regular updates throughout the day.

Blackpool will be bidding to reclaim their spot in the League One play-offs today after dropping out of the top six earlier in the week following Gillingham’s 1-0 win against Wigan.

Despite being pegged back late on by Plymouth Argyle last week, the Seasiders remain in fine form having avoided defeat in their last 11 games, the longest unbeaten streak of any third tier side this season.

Neil Critchley’s side will also be looking claim their fifth straight win on their travels, having overcome Portsmouth, Charlton Athletic, MK Dons and Oxford United during their last four away games.

Today’s opponents Swindon hover just a point above the relegation zone, despite John Sheridan’s men winning their last two games against Fleetwood Town and Bristol Rovers.

Ballard earned his sixth Northern Ireland cap yesterday

Dan Ballard will return from international duty today, having started Northern Ireland’s games against the USA and Bulgaria.

But having played 74 minutes on Wednesday night, it remains to be seen whether the Seasiders will risk the Arsenal loanee from the start at the County Ground.

Marvin Ekpiteta (hamstring), James Husband (foot) and Gary Madine (groin) are all making good progress in their recovery, but today’s game is likely to come too soon.

Jordan Thorniley strained his calf during last week’s draw against Plymouth Argyle and was brought off at half-time as a precaution. Brad Holmes, meanwhile, was missing after testing positive for Covid-19.

Elsewhere, Kevin Stewart is currently out with an ankle injury, while Matty Virtue, Keshi Anderson and CJ Hamilton are longer-term concerns.

Neil Critchley’s pre-match comments

Blackpool boss Neil Critchley

“It’s two teams with plenty to play for between now and the end of the season, albeit different reasons at the moment.

“Swindon have picked up in recent weeks and have had a couple of good results. They’ve found a way of playing that has got them results.

“They had some great wins against Fleetwood and Bristol Rovers away from home and kept two clean sheets, so they’ll obviously want to back that up with a home win now.

“They’ll be fighting for their lives and we know it’s going to be a tough game.

“If you look at the results before these two wins, they were obviously up and down. But John Sheridan is a very experienced manager and has been in this sort of position quite a few times in his career.

“He will stay calm, he won’t panic and he’s found what looks like a way for his team to get results, so I’m sure if you’ve won two back-to-back games and not conceded, then it’s worked.

“We know it’s going to be hard to break them down and that’s the route he’s gone down. They’ve had two great results, so it’s going to be an extremely tough game away from home.”

John Sheridan’s pre-match comments

“I went to watch them on Saturday myself – they’re a good team, well organised and on a good run. They’ve got the belief they can get in the play-offs, and they don’t let many goals in.

“They’re very strong as a unit, and they’ve got Jerry (Yates) who scores goals. So I’m very aware of them, but they’ll be aware of us.

“They’ll know after our last two results that we performed very well and we can be a threat. That’s how we’ll go into the game – we’ll go in confident that we can get the result we’re after.

“We’ll be trying to take the game to Blackpool like we did in our last two games. We know our last eight or nine games are all cup finals and we know the importance of trying to win games quickly to get points so we can gain an advantage on the teams around us.

“We’ll take the game to Blackpool – we’ve got to go and try to win the game because we’re at home. I’d like us to try and perform at home like we have been doing away.

“We definitely need to take the game to them, but they get men behind the ball, they’re strong and they’re organised. Whether we have to be patient or we go for it early on, we know the importance of winning the game.”

And here’s the Swindon side

Neil Critchley opts to make two changes to the side that drew 2-2 with Plymouth Argyle last week.

Demetri Mitchell is surprisingly dropped to the bench despite delivering a Man of the Match display in his last outing.

Jordan Thorniley also drops down to the bench, as Daniel Gretarsson and Ellis Simms come into the starting line-up.

Dan Ballard returns from international duty but is only named among the substitutes having started in Northern Ireland’s World Cup qualifier against Bulgaria on Wednesday night.

Marvin Ekpiteta, James Husband, Kevin Stewart, Matty Virtue, Keshi Anderson, CJ Hamilton and Gary Madine remain sidelined through injury, while Bez Lubala is unavailable due to a club matter.

Swindon, who started the game just a point above the dropzone, make one change to the side that beat Bristol Rovers 1-0 last week.

And kick-off is just moments away.

Can the Seasiders claim a fifth straight victory on their travels and reclaim 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, Swindon’s Matty Palmer gets the game underway.

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