Why Blackpool's exemplary defensive record will hold them in good stead for play-off battle against Oxford United
Blackpool’s exemplary defensive record will stand Neil Critchley’s men in good stead for their crunch play-off battle with Oxford United.
The Seasiders ended the regular season with the league’s meanest defence, conceding just 37 times in 46 matches.
But Pool’s backline will be severely tested against a free-scoring Oxford side that found the back of the net on 24 occasions in their final seven games of the campaign.
One man who will be looking to keep out Karl Robinson’s side is James Husband, who has played an important role at the back for Blackpool this season.
“The league speaks for itself, but we’ve been such a consistent team and kept 22 clean sheets, which is unheard of,” the left-back told The Gazette.
“It’s some achievement, but we’ve got to take it into the next two games.
“It’s massive for Maxi (Chris Maxwell) and he’s won the Golden Glove, but he’ll be the first one to say it’s not all about him – although the award will be on his mantle piece!
“As a collective, right from the strikers backwards, we’re very well organised. The manager sets us up perfectly.
“We know what we’re doing and we proved that against Bristol Rovers because we made a few changes and still looked a seriously good team.”
Blackpool have demonstrated time and time again this season that, irrespective of which players take to the field, the side still manage to churn out impressive displays and, more importantly, results.
“That’s the philosophy the manager has installed in us from day one,” Husband added.
“It’s quite ironic that at the start of the season, we probably played our best football but we won one in nine.
“We started to find a way to win, which is massive in this league, and picked up numerous, numerous points. Now look where we are.
“They’re 90 minutes games, so we have to remain patient. But I thought we played well in the first-half against Bristol Rovers and their keeper, who is only 17 and was making his debut, made some very good saves. We tested him and he stood up to it, so fair play to him.
“But we tried and tried and tried. Brad Holmes has been tremendous since he’s been with us and I thought he was fantastic considering it was his debut, he looked like a seasoned professional out there.
“To have someone like Ellis (Simms) come on in his place is massive for us and he took his goal fantastically.”
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