Former Blackpool manager Ian Holloway has heaped praise on the job that Neil Critchley has done at Bloomfield Road since taking over the club following the Tangerines securing promotion on Sunday.
Critchley was tasked with building a Blackpool side capable of challenging for promotion to the Championship when he took over on a permanent basis part-way through last season. He has managed to do just that and created a side that have been able to force their way into the promotion picture and secure a return to the Championship.
Blackpool’s win against Lincoln City at Wembley on Sunday in many ways mirrored their campaign, not the best of starts but then they got a grip of things and looked like a really strong side. Critchley has managed to develop players with his coaching and also recruit well in the market. That has played a pivotal role in taking them back to the English second tier.
Blackpool quiz: Does Bloomfield Road have a higher or lower capacity than these 18 grounds?
Speaking to EFL on Quest, Holloway heaped praise on the job that Critchley has done creating a talented side with plenty of quality and also togetherness from the position they were in when he took over.
He said: “Critchley should be very proud of himself. When he took over there wasn’t really a team there. And being able to build this togetherness during Covid times. He’s made big decisions so calmly all season too. Massive credit.”
Holloway is spot on here, Critchley has perhaps gone under the radar at times this season but he has unquestionably performed a magnificent job with Blackpool in his first full campaign in charge. He has got the maximum out of all of his players and managed to improve the likes of Jerry Yates and turn him into one of the best players in the third tier.
The Tangerines are perhaps now in their best position since Holloway’s days in charge with them hoping to build some real momentum in the Championship now. Holloway knows what it takes to build a promotion-winning squad at Blackpool, and he will have seen a lot of admirable work being done by the current boss of the club this season.
Critchley looks to have the quality needed to step up to the Championship and continue to perform an excellent job as Blackpool boss. If they can keep hold of their best players and recruit well again in the summer, there is no reason why they can not thrive in the English second tier next term.