Tough talking in Pool dressing room

Blackpool keeper Matt Gilks is sent off
Blackpool keeper Matt Gilks is sent off
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BLACKPOOL’s players held a dressing room inquest after the 2-1 home defeat by Barnsley.

Pool have taken just one point from their last four Championship games at Bloomfield Road, and senior players exchanged words on Saturday in an attempt to get their season back on track.

Despite remaining in 15th place, Pool are only six points above the Tykes, who occupy the third relegation spot.

And while many managers wouldn’t be happy with unrest in the dressing room, caretaker boss Steve Thompson thinks it was exactly what everyone needed.

Thompson revealed: “I came into the dressing room and a few of the players were having words.

“I don’t mind it, to be honest. It shows passion, it shows desire.

“As long as it’s constructive, I don’t mind the players having their say with each other.

“But I don’t want to see it after disappointment – I want to see it during the game and before the game.

“We need big characters in the dressing room and on the pitch at the moment.

“I won’t let the players dictate the dressing room, though. I’ll have the final say.”

Jim O’Brien gave the visitors a half-time lead only for Tom Ince to equalise with his 16th goal of the season.

Pool pushed forward for a winner before their plans were dashed when goalkeeper Matt Gilks was red-carded for handling outside the box.

And such has been Pool’s luck of late that it was no surprise when substitute Jason Scotland netted the winner in the 88th minute. Thompson said: “I’m running out of things to say to the lads. I couldn’t have asked for any more from them.

“The disappointing thing is their first goal has come from our corner.

“For the second one he’s waltzed past one or two of our. Mark Halstead’s made a decent save, yet the lad has followed it in.

“After the sending-off, we changed our shape to try to stay in the game. We still created some good chances, especially Matt Derbyshire hitting the bar.

“It’s always going to be difficult losing our keeper. It forced us to change our tactics a little. We had to go 4-4-1, but to lose such a sloppy goal is a disappointment.”

The game’s major talking point was Gilks’ dismissal just after the hour.

Thompson thinks it was a harsh call but understands the decision.

He added: “Gilo asked me if he should have come out for it. I said he did the right thing trying to come and take everything out.

“He said it hit the underside of his arm. If that’s so, then it’s a sending off.

“It’s not a blatant one. It just hit his ribs, then on to his arms.

“I suppose it’s one of those the referee had to make.”

Barnsley boss David Flitcroft has turned Barnsley’s season around since stepping up from assistant to replace Keith Hill last month.

Saturday’s win took their points tally under his stewardship to 13 from a possible 15, and the former Rochdale and Bury defender hailed his players’ commitment.

“I’ll remember those 14 players who turned out today for the rest of my life,” said Flitcroft, who signed matchwinner Scotland following his release from Ipswich.

“There was bravery out there from start to finish. We just showed no fear whatsoever.

“The Steve Thompson way is very much a mirror image of the Ian Holloway at Blackpool, so we didn’t underestimate how tough it was going to be.

“They get players into some incredible positions, but for all that we’ve matched them and we really had to dig deep in every way. Every single player played a major part.

“It was probably the hardest game of the season but the lads have dug in and got the result.

“We’ve just got to continue concentrating on what we do and not worrying about others. If we carry that on we’ll get out of trouble.”