Terry McPhillips twice as proud of his Blackpool players after Arsenal double-header

Blackpool couldn't get the better of Arsenal keeper Petr Cech
Blackpool couldn't get the better of Arsenal keeper Petr Cech
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Terry McPhillips believes his Blackpool players can take pride from both of this season’s encounters against Arsenal.

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The Seasiders came up against the Gunners for a second time this term on Saturday evening, when they put up a spirited fight but went down to a 3-0 defeat in their FA Cup third round at Bloomfield Road.

It wasn’t as close an encounter as the Carabao Cup clash back in October, when the Seasiders lost 2-1 at the Emirates, but the Pool boss believes his men can still take plenty of positives out of the loss.

McPhillips said: “There was plenty for us to be proud about, just as there was from the first game.

“We caused them plenty of problems during that first game and we probably played a bit more expansive this time because we’re at home.

“It didn’t quite work out for us but I’m proud of the lads in both of the games for their efforts and for their quality.

“I thought we played a bit of football in the first half and we had a go in the second half.

“Their manager was very complimentary towards us at the end of the game for the two games we’ve given them.

“But that’s it now. That game has gone and we dust ourselves down and we go back to the league games, where we need to get back to winning ways.”

The Seasiders had to do without Ben Heneghan on Saturday.

The centre-back missed out through illness and was replaced by Michael Nottingham.

“Ben had been ill all week, and I spoke to him after training on Friday and he was as croaky as croaky can be,” McPhillips added. “Then he just couldn’t get out of bed, the poor lad.

“He’s a warrior. He would play through the pain barrier with broken ribs if he had to but it wasn’t to be for him. That gave someone else a chance.”

Pool were also dealt a blow during the second half, when goalkeeper Mark Howard hobbled off the pitch with a groin injury.

McPhillips will be desperately hoping Howard’s injury isn’t a serious one, with the club already feeling the absence of a number of other key players, including Ollie Turton and Curtis Tilt.

When asked the extent of the injury, McPhillips said: “We don’t know yet but it’s his groin, so we’ll assess him.

“I think the last time we played Arsenal he got injured that time as well.

“Certainly he would be a big miss but Christoffer (Mafoumbi) came in and did well. He made a couple of saves.”