Meeting with West Brom on level terms a sure sign of Blackpool’s quick progress

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When Blackpool last faced West Bromwich Albion in the FA Cup just 10 months ago, the two sides were 37 places apart in the football pyramid.

 

However, when they meet at Bloomfield Road this evening, only six points will separate the two clubs.

The Baggies, who were relegated from the Premier League last season, sit in third place in the Championship, eight points off the automatic promotion spots.

Blackpool are 10th, three points off the top six after a superb start to the season following their promotion from League One last term.

“It’s a great prospect,” Pool boss Neil Critchley said, speaking on Monday ahead of tonight’s encounter.

“I was only driving in this morning and thinking back to less than 12 months ago in January, when we played them in the FA Cup at Bloomfield Road with no supporters.

“They were in the Premier League at the time and we were in League One.

The Seasiders beat West Brom on penalties in the FA Cup back in January

The Seasiders beat West Brom on penalties in the FA Cup back in January

“Less than 12 months later we’re meeting them in a competitive league game, so things can change very quickly in football.

“We’re under no illusions as to how difficult the game is, we’ve watched them play so we know how good they are.

“I’ve watched them numerous times this season and they’re a good team with very good players.

“Just coming out of the Premier League, they will have aspirations of going straight back up.

“They’ve got a big squad of players and, physically, they’re very good. It’s a tough game but what a great challenge under the lights on a Tuesday night.

“Hopefully it will be a great atmosphere and similar to the Stoke and QPR games. It’s great to have big clubs coming to our place and it’s up to us to put on a good performance.”

While Critchley is delighted with the progress his Blackpool side is making, he’s still wanting to see more from his players.

“To see we’re not too far off West Brom in the table shows you the strides and steps we’ve made in the right direction,” he added.

“Again, I get a bit of time in my car to think and I always think of the points we could have had. We always want more.

“People say you’re doing really well but I always think we could be doing better, we could be doing more.

“We’re matching the teams around us all the time. There’s not a lot in the games we play, and with the squad we’ve got, why can’t we remain as consistent as we are and improve and get better?”