Neil Critchley says Blackpool players will welcome busy schedule after another international break

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The international break which follows Saturday’s home match against Queens Park Rangers will be the last for four months – and Neil Critchley says that’s welcome news for his Blackpool players.

 

This is the third successive month to include a two-week gap between Championship fixtures because of internationals and Critchley says the Seasiders squad are looking forward to a less disrupted campaign.

He told The Gazette: “Yes, this will be last international break until the middle of March, so you get a really good period of games where the squad will be tested.

Blackpool have only a three-day turnaround between the Stoke (above) and QPR games but then face a two-week break

Blackpool have only a three-day turnaround between the Stoke (above) and QPR games but then face a two-week break

“We were used to that last season, though the physicality and intensity of the games this season in the Championship is greater.

“But ask any player and they will tell you they want to play games.

“The breaks have been handy in some ways to refresh the players physically and mentally, but if we have a game every week and in midweek we are more than happy with that.”

But of course more games means less time to work on the training ground. This week has seen a three-day turnaround between the home fixtures against Stoke City and QPR.

Critchley explained: “We had a recovery day on Thursday and will do a bit of work on Friday, but in terms of developing the team from game to game it’s difficult with the limited time.

“Maybe you can do some video work and speak to players individually, but you do rely on the consistency of the message, the intelligence of the players and their ability to pick things up.

“The experienced players can help too but we should take a lot of encouragement from our performances.”

Blackpool aim to go into the break with another positive performance today against a QPR side who won 1-0 at Cardiff City on Wednesday, while Pool were losing to Stoke by the same scoreline.

Critchley said: “We were disappointed to lose and rightly so but we were more than a match for a good Championship club with a really good squad and aspirations of playing in the Premier League.

“Similar to Stoke, QPR started very well. They didn’t quite sustain it but have picked up again recently.

“They have very good attacking players and are one of the highest-scoring teams.

“What a great challenge for us against teams like this, who have a really good way of playing. It’s at home and live on Sky, so let’s go for it and try to put on a show for the viewers.”

And Critchley says the unusual 5.30 kick-off time won’t affect Pool’s preparation greatly.

He added: “It’s somewhere in between the kick-off times we’re used to but you just shift everything back a couple of hours.

“We trained a little bit later on Friday, so it’s only a bit different.”