Neil Critchley: Three games to gauge Blackpool season

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Neil Critchley believes this week will provide an interesting gauge of whether his Blackpool side should be looking up or down for the rest of the season.

 

The Seasiders moved into a play-off position with Saturday’s backs-against-the-wall 1-0 win at Sheffield United.

Pool, who have won seven of their last 10 games, now face back-to-back home games against Stoke City tomorrow and QPR on Saturday.

Neil Critchley says Blackpool will learn a lot about the rest of their season from the games before this month's international break

Neil Critchley says Blackpool will learn a lot about the rest of their season from the games before this month’s international break

Should the Seasiders pick up two positive results, it will put them in a strong position heading into this month’s final international break of 2021.

Critchley told The Gazette: “You want that momentum going into the international break, like we had last time.

“But because of the type of teams we’re facing, I think it’s a really good barometer for us in terms of where we might be looking in the league come the end of these three games.

“I knew how good Sheffield United were and I’m thinking they’re going to be up there.

“Stoke had a really good start to the season and you think their ambition is to be top six, and QPR had a fantastic end to last season and have started well again this season.

“Are we going to be looking up or are we going to be middle of the pack or looking down?

“These three games will give us a good gauge of what we can be thinking about after the international break in November.

“We want to set our stall out and think, ‘We’re as good as you, we’re in the race for looking up, rather than down’. That’s why I think they’re important games for us as a group and staff.

“They are games for us to pitch ourselves against three really good teams. Are we miles away or are we not too far away?”

Blackpool will look forward to returning to Bloomfield Road, where they’ve won their last three games.

Regardless of whether Critchley’s men are playing at home or away, their approach rarely changes – Pool have so far picked up 12 points on home turf and 12 on their travels.

The head coach added: “We go into every game, home or away, stick to our principles and try and be us in every game.

“We don’t have a strategy that is different for playing away from home. We don’t look to change formation and be more defensive, and see if we can take a point.

“We just try to be us and try and win every game.

“We have a strategy for every game but we want to be consistent in being us and trying to improve in being us.

“We’re getting better at that but we’ve got a lot of work to do.”