Blackpool manager Simon Grayson has delivered some potentially positive news on the fitness of striker Armand Gnanduillet, ahead of the Tangerines’ clash against Lincoln City on Friday night at Bloomfield Road.
Gnanduillet, who has been in fine form at the start of the campaign having registered five league goals already so far this term, missed out on Blackpool’s 1-1 draw at local rivals Accrington Stanley with the forward suffering from a muscle strain ahead of the game.
Grayson elected to pair both Joe Nutall and Ryan Hastie together at Accrington in Gnanduillet’s absence, but the two forwards have struggled to make the same sort of impact as the 27-year-old so far this term, with neither player registering a league goal yet in the early weeks of the season, making the Frenchmen’s return to fitness an even greater priority for Blackpool.
Blackpool head into Friday’s clash against Licoln knowing that a win could move them level on points with second placed Coventry City, ahead of Saturday’s League 1 fixtures, and Grayson will be hoping that Gnanduillet will be ready to return to the same sort of form he has been showing so far this campaign if he is called upon.
Speaking ahead of the game against Lincoln at Bloomfield Road to the Blackpool Gazette, Grayson suggested that the striker could be in line to be included back in his side for the match, saying “He had a fitness test on Friday but we decided we wouldn’t risk him as we’d rather lose him for just the one game than for four or five.
“We will look at things in a different light (for Friday). We will look at our opponents and how they will set up, but I’m always looking at different solutions to problems.
“Players are giving me the opportunity to change things around. I might have changed things around before the Accrington game but we decided to go with the same team. Obviously Armand wasn’t available, so the team really picked itself.”
Gnanduillet’s return to contention at least in terms of Grayson’s thinking for Friday night will be a huge boost for the Tangerines, as they look to maintain their early season momentum which has seen the club occupy a place in the League 1 play-off places.
The Frenchmen has emerged as Blackpool’s main source of goals so far this term and has displayed the potential to reach well into double figures, if Grayson’s side can keep him fully fit for the rest of the season, and that could make the difference between managing to mount a successful challenge for promotion or just falling short.
The lack of goals from the Tangerines other forwards so far will have put more pressure on Gnanduillet to get back fit and maintain his early-season form, but the 27-year-old has already shown he is ready to become Blackpool’s main striker this campaign.