McDonald will turn Blackpool’s season round, says Fleetwood boss

Steven Pressley
Steven Pressley

Fleetwood Town boss Steven Pressley insists Neil McDonald will turn Blackpool’s fortunes around – but he hopes his opposite number will wait until after tomorrow’s derby to do so.

Town head into their first ever league showdown with Blackpool as favourites on the back of strong home wins over Millwall and Swindon.

Blackpool have lost seven on the bounce and are one goal away from the bottom of League One, but Pressley will take nothing for granted.

The Town boss said: “I’ve been pleased with the progress, but the one thing you have to do after any good performances is guard against complacency.

“I want the players to have that confidence and belief –but there’s a fine line between that and complacency.

“I’ve watched Blackpool’s last three games. Neil (McDonald) has them well organised. They are very hard-working.

“The truth is that they have deserved more than they’ve got in the last couple of games.

“I know if we don’t apply ourselves and don’t play the way we have in our last couple of games, we’ll be in for a very difficult afternoon.”

From watching DVDs of Pool, Pressley believes McDonald’s side are capable of doing damage and ending their runs of six games without a goal.

“At Port Vale they had three or four chances they should have scored from, and they got hit with a couple of sucker-punches at the end of the game,” Pressley said.

“But I don’t think their performances have reflected the results. We have to be aware of that.”

Pressley is no stranger to hardships in football, having overseen a 75 per cent budget cut at Falkirk and managed Coventry City in exile at Northampton.

And he sympathises greatly with McDonald in his first stint as a number one.

Pressley added: “It’s a very difficult situation but he’s a very experienced man in football. He’s a very good coach but it takes time.

“Continuity is very important at a football club and there’s been no continuity at all in the past few seasons at Blackpool. He’s had to build a squad from virtually nothing and it’s a huge challenge.

“But given time there’s no doubt Neil will turn that football club around.”

And the Fleetwood manager believes the atmosphere around Bloomfield Road isn’t helping, with many fans at loggerheads with the owners,.

He said: “One thing that attracted me to this job was the support staff we had, taking issues off my desk and allowing me to focus on what I do best.

“But for Neil it’s probably very difficult with what’s surrounding the club right now.

“It’s really important to have positivity, everybody pulling in one direction, and unfortunately for Neil right now the club is very fragmented, which makes life even more difficult.”

“But with the way he is as a man and with his coaching ability, I’m sure he will bring success given time.

As for the derby day, Pressley is desperate to make it one to remember for Fleetwood fans.

He said: “I looked at the fixture list when I first arrived and it was one which stood out.

“It’s a derby game, one that really excites the clocal communities. We’re really really looking forward to the game.

“We’ve not been able to focus on it for a full week because of the fixture schedule.

“But immediately after the Millwall game attention turned to Blackpool. We’ve spent the last couple of days watching DVDs and being told by everybody just what an important game it is.

“We’re under no illusions about just what it means to our supporters.”

Pressley hasn’t had a chance to discuss the game with his own chairman, but he knows the message from Andy Pilley will be clear.

“What’s he said? ‘You’d better win’” joked the Scot. “No, honestly, we haven’t spoken much since Tuesday.

“He’s a busy man but I’m sure the words I’ve relayed to you will be relayed to me!”