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Critchley: Reverse Fixture Was A Turning Point

4 March 2021

Neil Critchley is hoping to get the better of AFC Wimbledon this weekend, with the Head Coach admitting the reverse fixture was a turning point of the season.

The Seasiders suffered a narrow 1-0 defeat to the Dons in October, finishing the match with nine men after Dan Ballard and Ethan Robson were dismissed. Despite their numerical disadvantage, Blackpool were unfortunate to walk away with nothing to show for their efforts on the evening.

“You don’t often finish matches with nine men, and I think that game typified the moment we were in as a team,” Critchley said.

“Everything around those first few games and weeks of the season seemed to be getting punished, with decisions and luck going against us a fair bit. I think after that defeat, we found out a lot more about each other – myself and the coaching staff found out a lot about them, and the players found out a lot about us.

“We became stronger as a group because of that, and I was really heartened by what I saw from the players. Despite playing with nine men for a good degree of the match, we matched them for large parts and that told me what type of characters we have in the dressing room.”

With the Dons now under the guidance of a new manager, Mark Robinson, who took over in the New Year, Critchley is expecting a tough match on Saturday.

“The new manager has come in and tried to implement a different style of game, which can take a bit of time,” he said.

“You can see there’s a slight change in style in how they want to approach the game. We know from earlier on in the season that they have some good players. If we’re not prepared mentally and tactically or if you’re physically off it, then teams can beat you.

“We’ve had impressive home form lately, and we’re looking forward to the match which presents us a good opportunity to pick up three points.”

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