Blackpool boss ready for play-off changes plus Lincoln captain makes Sunderland claim

Blackpool boss Neil Critchley says there will be different variables to deal with in the League One play-offs.

Tuesday, 18th May 2021, 5:10 pm

The Tangerines will face Oxford over two legs, with Sunderland set to face Lincoln in the other semi-final.

Ahead of Blackpool’s trip to Oxford (Tuesday, 6pm kick-off), Critchley said: “You have to look at these two matches a bit differently.

“You have to focus on the things you can control – what you can guarantee and what you can bring onto the pitch, but there might be areas that you haven’t faced before this season.

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Blackpool manager Neil Critchley.

“The prospect of playing back in front of supporters again is something we are all looking forward to as well as the games being live on television, so there’s a few changes to what would be a regular game.

“These games are full of emotion and drama. The psychological aspect of these games is different to your normal league game, but we’re ready, excited and looking forward to it.”

Sunderland fans can help says Phillips

Sunderland are also preparing to welcome back supporters, with 10,000 fans set to attend the Wearsiders’ second leg against Lincoln at the Stadium of Light.

Black Cats legend Kevin Phillips believes a passionate crowd could make a difference in such a big game.

“It will have a slight bearing,” Phillips told Football Insider.

“Is it going to be 10,000? It will have an effect, I don’t care what anyone says. Hopefully it’s a good effect.

“That will be the second leg of the tie so if Sunderland go into that game behind, the fans will be right behind them.”

Lincoln captain on Sunderland clash

Finally, Lincoln captain Liam Bridcutt hopes his side can take advantage of Sunderland’s inconsistency this season.

Bridcutt, 32, played for the Black Cats between 2014 and 2016, but missed Lincoln's 4-0 defeat by Sunderland in December.

“They’re a very physical and experienced team,” said the midfielder ahead of the play-offs.

“They’ve been inconsistent over the whole season and hopefully we can take advantage of that.

“Nothing really changes for us. We go into every game with a game plan. We stick to it and that’s stood us in good stead this season.”

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