Neil Critchley addresses the process behind his Blackpool team selection and why he makes so many changes

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The process of selecting Blackpool’s team is a fairly “simple” and “straight-forward” one for Neil Critchley.


The Blackpool boss likes to keep us guessing with his line-ups, often making changes from one game to the next.

In fact, of the 68 league games he’s taken charge of, Critchley has only named an unchanged side on five occasions.

Explaining his decision-making process when selecting his team, Critchley said: “It’s quite simple in my head, I just look at the opposition we play against and then we decide on what is the best team to take to the pitch to beat the opponent.

“You have to take into consideration form, players in form, players playing well, confidence levels, but also the physical state of the players.

“That’s not just in terms of their fitness and whether they’ve had a run of games, but also the emotional aspect of the games as well.

“We put all those things into our decision-making and injuries obviously play a part as well. So all those things go into the pot, if you like.
Blackpool boss Neil Critchley

Blackpool boss Neil Critchley

“We will do that again as staff for the next game and then we’ll decide what we feel is the best thing to do for when we play Swansea City.

“A lot of thought goes into it, but it’s also quite simple and straight-forward in my head because we’ve been doing it for a long time.”

The last time Blackpool named an unchanged side was for the recent 1-0 win against Sheffield United at Bramall Lane.

That impressive result came off the back of Blackpool’s derby day win against Preston North End.

“Looking at the game against Preston and how the team played, we watched the opposition at great length and we put a lot of thought into the team and formation we chose,” Critchley added.

“It was actually a very difficult decision prior to the Sheffield United game because of how they played. It was a really tough one to prepare for.

“I was contemplating changing shape for the game and then obviously contemplating also the personnel that took to the pitch.

“But in the end that’s what we decided to go with because we felt it was the right thing to do.

“You could say it worked because we won, but I have to be honest and say we could have quite easily lost that game as well and people would have said it didn’t work.

“Hindsight is a wonderful thing in football.”