We’re ready for Tykes, says Blackpool boss

Neil McDonald
Neil McDonald
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Neil McDonald insists Blackpool’s Boxing Day postponement won’t affect their plans for Monday’s visit to Barnsley.

The Seasiders were frustrated after heavy rain left their pitch waterlogged for the clash with struggling Oldham.

The last time a match at Bloomfield Road had been postponed because of rain was in 2000, when the League Cup clash with Norwich City was called off just five minutes before kick-off after a sudden downpour rendered the pitch unplayable.

Subsequent home matches to have fallen foul of the weather, including the Boxing Day game against Liverpool in the Premier League season, were all due to frozen pitches.

After Saturday’s early-morning decision to postpone the game, Pool’s players instead headed to Bloomfield Road for a gym session before holding a full training session on Sunday.

Manager McDonald said: “Our preparations for the Barnsley game were unaffected.

“We stuck to the schedule and are looking to build on our recent winning run at Barnsley.”

Like Pool, the Oakwell side were rained off on Boxing Day, when they were scheduled for a derby at Bury.

The Tykes go into the game under real pressure after spending the Christmas period in the drop zone.

Manager Lee Johnson was booed by supporters after their last game, a 2-0 home defeat by Wigan, though they can look forward to a Johnstone’s Paint Trophy Northern Area Final against Fleetwood Town in the New Year.

For Blackpool, it’s been a much more pleasant build-up as they look for their fourth win on the bounce.

And Pool’s players should go into the game refreshed, having been given Christmas Day off as a reward for their winning run.

Football tradition often sees players interrupt their festive celebrations to train ahead of a Boxing Day clash.

But this year Pool’s squad were told enjoy the day with their families by boss McDonald.

The manager feels there is no need for players to go to work on December 25, suggesting clubs only do so for “show”.

McDonald said: “No, we weren’t in in on Christmas Day. I think clubs come in for show a lot of the time.

“We worked all the way up to Christmas Eve, then the boys were allowed to spend time at home on Christmas Day.

“Christmas is all about spending time with your family, so I thought it was important our lads were allowed to do that.

“We have a few boys who travel in, so I didn’t want them sitting in a car when they should be with their family.

“My players are right at it at the moment and are getting the rewards that they deserve.”

Blackpool travel to Barnsley today looking to keep their winning run going and move further clear of the bottom four.

They remain four points after four places clear of the drop zone after none of the teams below them won on Boxing Day. And when asked for his perfect present this Christmas, McDonald’s answer was short and sweet. “To keep winning,” he said.