Blackpool manager Simon Grayson has claimed the club will not look to rush Armand Gnanduillet back from injury, despite the striker making progress in his recovery.
Gnanduillet has missed Blackpool’s last three games in all competitions due to a thigh injury picked up in a 2-0 win over AFC Wimbledon last month, a game in which the 27-year-old scored both of his side’s goals.
The striker did take part in a warmup ahead of Blackpool’s FA Cup win over Maidstone on Sunday, but it seems that does not necessarily mean a return to action is imminent.
Speaking to the Blackpool Gazette about Gnanduilett’s progress, Grayson revealed: “He’s been back on the grass with Phil (Horner) but Sunday was more about a recovery session just to get his legs going.
“He could have gone into the gym and done it on the bike but he wanted to do it on the grass.
“He’s making good progress, we’re not going to rush him back. Whether he’s fit for next week we’ll have to wait and see.”
So far this season, Gnanduillet has scored 12 goals in 20 appearances in all competitions for the Seasiders, which has seen him linked with a move to Championship side Derby County, and helped Blackpool to eighth in the League One standings, ahead of their clash with local rivals Fleetwood Town at Bloomfield Road on Saturday afternoon.
It does feel like Grayson could be faced with a difficult decision to make here.
Saturday’s derby with Fleetwood looks set to be crucial not just in terms of local bragging rights, but also in the battle for a top-six spot in League One this season, with both these sides just outside the play-off places.
As a result, the vast majority of Blackpool fans would surely want to see a player as important and influential as Gnanduillet brought back into contention for such a significant match.
However, Grayson is unlikely to want to do that unless he is certain that Gnanduillet is fully fit to compete in that game, lest he risk losing such a key player longer term, which could be a possibility if he is not fully recovered when you consider how fiery that derby could end up being.