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Exclusive: Jobi McAnuff offers honest verdict on Blackpool’s return to the Championship

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Discovery+ and Quest pundit Jobi McAnuff admits Blackpool have been one of the surprise packages in the Championship this season.

The Seasiders were the last club to secure their place in the Championship for the current campaign, after beating Lincoln City in the League One play-off final back in May.

That ended a six-year wait for the club to make their return to the second-tier of English football.

However, Neil Critchley’s side have enjoyed a solid return to that level, and currently sit 11th in the table, just four points adrift of the Championship play-offs following their goalless draw with promotion chasing West Brom at Bloomfield Road on Tuesday night.

By contrast, the two sides that won automatic promotion from League One ahead of the Seasiders last season, Hull and Peterborough, currently find themselves locked in a relegation battle at the wrong end of the table.

Now it seems as though McAnuff has been impressed by Blackpool this season, and he believes the style of play they employ under Critchley, has helped them to adapt to life back in the second-tier.

Asked what he had made of the Tangerines this season, McAnuff exclusively told Football League World: “I’d certainly say they’re one of the surprise packages this season.

“You look at them, and you probably look at Coventry the way they’ve started certainly in that top half, they’d be the two teams and think they’ve had a really really good start, along with Huddersfield, you’d have to throw them in the mix as well.

“When you look at the other two teams that came up, for me that’s the big indication of how well Blackpool have done.

“They’re 12 points ahead of Peterborough already, similar ahead of Hull, who are both hovering around that relegation zone.

“From that point of view that’s the real marker particularly when you think they finished below both those teams last season.

“But I think a lot of their success is in their style, Peterborough and Hull certainly last season were really attacking teams, they want to go and take the game to opponents and were good at that.

“When you come up to the Championship, it’s another level up, and you can’t always go and blast teams away the way they did last year if you’re the other two.

“Blackpool are a little bit more pragmatic, they certainly were more of a counter attacking team, very compact, they catch teams on the break really well, they’ve got good athleticism in that forward area,.

“Defensively this season they’ve been really really solid as well. So that’s been a key factor, they’re a tough team to play against.

“Neil Critchley deserves an enormous amount of respect for the job that he’s done so far at Blackpool, one in getting them, and two in now holding their own in what is a really tough league.”

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UCLan Sports Journalism graduate, been writing for Football League World since March 2019. I've previously worked for the likes of Blackburn Rovers and Opta, among others.

ScoopDragon Football News Network

Article title: Exclusive: Jobi McAnuff offers honest verdict on Blackpool’s return to the Championship

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