Blackpool Manager Addresses Play-Off Chances

Blackpool Boss Neil Critchley has insisted he avoids checking the standings in the League One table, despite his side’ continued battle to reach the play-offs.

The Seasiders boss insists his side just need to win and not worry about what others are doing as they battle for a top six spot alongside the likes of Lincoln City, Oxford United and Stevenage. Oxford currently occupy that final spot but with Lincoln just two points further back. Blackpool and Stevenage sit a further point adrift, albeit both have played a game more.

Critchley’s side have taken seven points from a possible 15 in the past five games, including the win in the Lancashire Derby where they beat relegation candidates Fleetwood Town. They face a favourable tie against already-relegated Carlisle United tomorrow afternoon.

They’re still in contention though, although they will know that they need a huge degree of fortune to trump the teams immediately above them. Speaking to the Blackpool Gazette ahead of tomorrow’s game, the manager assessed his side’s play-off chances:

“I speak to the players about what we can control, control the controllable, we can only concentrate on ourselves and prepare as we always do- focusing on how we’re going to win the game against Carlisle.

“I honestly don’t need to look at the league table because I know we just need to win, it’s as simple as that. I try my very best not to look at other teams’ points, games or run-ins, because then you spend all your time thinking about ‘what if’ scenarios, and then you take your eye off what you’re doing. We need to concentrate on ourselves.

“If we do our part then we hope we can create enough pressure on the teams around us for them to drop points so we can take advantage of that. We’re in the conversation and we want to stay there as long as possible to make it exciting.

“We think we have to win all of our remaining games. If we can take it to the last day of the season then anything can happen. At some point I’ll need to know the league table because it can impact your decision making, but it’s quite simple that we need to go to Carlisle and win.”

Following the trip to Cumbria, Blackpool have their final home game of the season against fifth-placed Barnsley before finishing with a trip to mid-table Reading.

Writer’s View

This is one of the most exciting seasons in League One for some time now and several questions are still unanswered with most teams having just three or four games remaining.

It’s understandable that Critchley is avoiding the table. As he stated, only wins will do if they’re serious about going back up to the Championship at the first time of asking. Any one of those four teams could finish in that all-important sixth spot and it’s wonderful to see the season not just fizzle out.

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