Terry McPhillips: Places in my Blackpool side are up for grabs today
Terry McPhillips says the efforts of his Blackpool players in their midweek extra-time FA Cup win means there are places up for grabs for today's league clash.
The Seasiders played 120 minutes of action on Tuesday night in their second round replay, eventually beating Solihull Moors after extra time to set up a home tie with Arsenal.
But there’s not been much time to rest for McPhillips’ men, who welcome League One play-off rivals Barnsley to Bloomfield Road this afternoon.
The Tykes currently sit in seventh place in the table, just two points above the Seasiders.
“I think there will be a chance for one or two on Saturday and it will be up to them to take their chance,” McPhillips said.
“There’s no favourites, it’s a case of when you get your chance, you’ve got to take it. Joe Dodoo is a great example.
“He’s done really well since he’s come back into the fold.
“You just don’t know (with injuries), you’re only ever one or two away from bringing some kids in on the bench, which we have done before, at Exeter in the FA Cup.
“Right now we’re okay, but only time will tell with that.
“You look at Morecambe and you hear they’ve only got 10 or 11 fit senior players, that’s football it can happen. It’s similar at Preston with lots of senior players injuries.
“So we’re not doing too bad, but losing Joe the other night was a body blow but it will give somebody else a chance.”
Having recently proven their play-off credentials with their 2-1 win against Charlton Athletic, today’s clash will give Pool another opportunity to show they’re worthy of being in contention for the top six.
When asked if that’s the case, McPhillips replied: “Yes but I wouldn’t pin it all on just one game. It’s not a case of if we win against Barnsley then we’ve cracked it and we’re in the play-offs. Or if we lose then we’ve had it.
“But in terms of the performance and how we do against them, it would be some kind of measure.
“Obviously we went to extra time on Tuesday which hasn’t done us any favours, but that’s football and that’s life. It’s not like we were travelling back from Arsenal and getting back at 6am.
“It’s just extra time, so there will be no excuses, so we’re looking forward to Barnsley and it will be a tough game and some kind of measure.”
Having that Arsenal game on the horizon on January 5 could easily prove a distraction for McPhillips’ players, but the Blackpool boss insists that won’t happen.
“I think it was a positive effect on us,” he added.
“We did really well down there and we had some big players missing on that day, so touch wood we’ll have some of those lads available for the next game. But you never know what happens. Those who missed out will definitely want to feature this time.
“Arsenal will definitely take it more seriously, I’m sure. It’s almost like a scheduled game, it’s not an extra, it’s their first involvement in it. So I’d expect them to play their strongest team.
“But whichever team you play at Arsenal it will be full of internationals and superb players, so it will be the same.
“Just to get through and to get over the line was a relief, but it was a proper game. We knew it was going to be a hard game because we had already played them. Nothing shocked us there.
“They had the same carrot as us, that’s why it was so fiercely contested. Luckily enough for us, we came out on top.
“We can definitely play better than we did on Tuesday but that’s what the FA Cup is all about, people rising to the occasion. It will be our turn to do that to Arsenal when they come here.
“I watched it back and I thought we were immense towards the end of the game.”