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Bowyer: Every Player Staking A Claim

Manager Yet To Determine Line-Up For Season Opener

26 July 2017

Gary Bowyer says he already has a selection dilemma on his hands ahead of Blackpool’s opening league fixture against Bradford City, given the way his players are performing in pre-season.

The manager has split his squad in recent matches to get everybody up-to-speed fitness-wise, and it has resulted in a real, competitive mentality, as players look to make an impression.

Speaking after a 3-0 win at Chorley, Bowyer revealed that he still couldn’t name the side that will take to the pitch at Valley Parade on 5 August.

“Phil Horner asked me ‘what’s your team at Bradford?’ and I said, ‘I don’t know’, and that’s genuinely where we are at this moment in time.      

“I couldn’t tell you what the starting 11 is at Bradford. It provides an opportunity for everyone to stake a claim.”

Danny Philliskirk and Mark Cullen kept up their own momentum last night, with both adding strikes to those scored against Radcliffe on Saturday.  

“It was a fantastic strike from Danny. He scored on Saturday and you can see the confidence in him from just scoring goals,” Bowyer said.

“Cully has just carried on from where he left off at Wembley, and we’re delighted because he missed the first part of pre-season with a little bit of an injury. He’s come back now and he’s looking sharp, we just need to get more minutes in him.”

The performance as a whole at Victory Park highlighted the way Blackpool will play this season, with a bigger emphasis on retaining the ball.  

“I thought it was a very good workout again. It was important that we got another 90 minutes into some of the players, or as close to. We kept a clean sheet and scored some good goals. I’m pleased with how we’re trying to play and the way the players are applying themselves to it.

“We’ve worked hard in pre-season on keeping possession more and credit to the players, they’ve really took it on board. It’s just that final pass, which comes from practice really. We could have had a few more.

“I thought we showed great desire as well in keeping the ball out of the net because Chorley were dangerous from set-plays. We defended them ever so well.”

Six of Blackpool’s 11 summer signings made appearances in the fixture, with the manager still planning for further additions.   

“I certainly hope so. We’re working hard at it but we’ll just have to see where we go with that,” he added.

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