15 April 2023

Stephen Dobbie: Blackpool will keep fighting until the end

15 April 2023

Stephen Dobbie insisted his Blackpool side will “keep fighting until the end” after a 1-0 win over Wigan boosted their slim survival hopes.

Jerry Yates’ strike inside two minutes was enough to settle a nervy Lancashire derby between the Sky Bet Championship’s bottom two.

Blackpool are now four points from safety with four games to play and Dobbie was delighted to mark his first home game since taking interim charge with a vital victory.

“We knew it was a must-win game, and despite how it was looking at times, this result gives us a fighting chance ahead of Tuesday now,” he said.

“It was a dream for me. I had a great time here as a player, and to be out there on the touchline today was really special.

“It’s fantastic to have got a first win too, I’m so proud of the players.

“There has been a bit of unrest here this season, but they fought until the end today – I’m buzzing with the result.

“Until the situation is out of our hands, these lads will keep fighting right until the end. It’s on to Tuesday and West Brom now.”

Despite the current predicament of the two clubs, there was a terrific atmosphere around Bloomfield Road as the game kicked off.

And it was the home fans who were celebrating an early opener as Yates, back in the Blackpool side after shaking off a hamstring injury, latched onto a perfect through-ball from Keshi Anderson before burying a low, angled strike past Ben Amos.

On the goalscorer, Dobbie added: “It was great to have him back today – we needed him.

“It was a big gamble to throw him straight back in, but he’s delivered.”

Bottom side Wigan now appear all-but doomed after a third consecutive loss, sitting eight points adrift of safety.

Thelo Aasgaard went close either side of the break and substitute Ashley Fletcher also injected some late energy for the Latics, seeing one crisp shot blocked before heading a James McClean cross wide.

But the Championship’s joint-lowest scorers drew a blank for the third game in a row to leave boss Shaun Maloney in no doubt as to where their problems lie.

“That kind of epitomises everything about what’s wrong at our club at the moment,” he said. “It also shows you where we’re at with the squad too.

“We got into some dangerous areas again today, but the statistics tell you that we are the worst attacking team in the league this season.

“I knew that from day one, though, we’re just lacking so much in an attacking sense.

“We have to be more dangerous, and we need to have more of that speed and talent you need in that final third.

“I can only apologise to our fans who travelled today after that, but there are a lot of departments where we need to be performing at a much higher level.”

A trip to Stoke is next up for the Latics and Maloney is clear about the size of the task facing his side.

“We need to win every game from here on in to give us any chance of surviving,” he said.

“We’re up against it, we know that, but everything on the field has to be raised to another level if we are to get out of trouble.”

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