Critchley: Goals From All Over The Pitch Can Be Vital

Neil Critchley has spoken of the importance of players from all over the park finding the back of the net, as the Seasiders prepare to host Barnsley this weekend.

Pool come into Saturday's match on the back of last weekend's victory at Middlesbrough, where Marvin Ekpiteta's strike started an impressive comeback, and Critchley has been impressed with how the defender continues to grasp opportunities and impress week on week.

"Marvin's always shown in his career that when he goes up to the next level, that's he's capable of adapting to the bigger challenges," he said.

"He finds a way of not just coping at the next level, but also thriving and he was one of our best players last season as well. He picked up an injury in the February, and then struggled to get back into the team at the back end of the campaign, but he understood that as the team was playing so well at the time. 

"When he came back for pre-season, you could tell he was ready to prove his point to get back into the team. It was away at Bournemouth where he got back into the side, and I think he's been fantastic ever since. 

"His best asset is his character. He's got a wonderful temperament for the game, and it doesn't matter who he comes up against. He wants to show that he's capable of playing against the best, and so far he's done exceptionally well."

Reflecting on the goal at Middlesbrough, Critchley believes it's a real asset to have the ability to score goals from all over the pitch.

"It's always a big asset for any team to have a centre-half or a full-back who can chip in to the goal tally throughout the season," he said.

"Having players from other areas of the field chip in with goals can make a big difference. It could be 0-0 and you get a set-piece and the centre-half pops up with a header and the game turns in your favour. It's vitally important over the course of the season, and Marvin got a couple of them during the last campaign, and we hope he can add to his tally before the end of this season too."

With Demetri Mitchell making a return to action in the mid-week Lancashire Senior Cup victory over Fleetwood Town, Neil Critchley is looking forward to having further options to choose from going forward, particularly in the wide areas of the pitch.

"To have pace at the top end of the pitch is a great asset to have," he said.

"Having Demetri back means that with 20-30 minutes left, we'll have someone - whether that be Keshi, Demetri, Josh - who can come on and impact the game. They can cause defenders problems in the final moments of the game, when the opposition are maybe getting a little tired. 

"Having the strength in numbers and quality in numbers is great for the team and they know that they have to perform well during games as well as during training. We put a big emphasise here in how we train, and we want that to be equally as competitive as matches."

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