Blackpool grabbed ahold of a Play-Off place with a storming performance against Peterborough at Bloomfield Road

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Blackpool were relentless in their press, organised in their defensive work and clinical in front of goal. Their sights are firmly set on promotion now.

Neil Critchley’s side opened the scoring in the first minute through a fired shot from Jerry Yates 25-yards out, before a fine volley from Joe Ward levelled matters right before half time.

That was a blow to the Seasiders who had dominated proceedings but they did not let that affect them and quickly re-established their advantage through a Yates penalty and a curling Luke Garbutt effort.

It was the performance of the season from a Blackpool side that have grown week on week in recent times.

In the last 25 league games, no team has picked up more points than the Seasiders and they finally took their place in sixth spot, with games still in hand compared to those around them.

This has been done without eight senior players out through injury or international duty with the likes of Dan Ballard, Gary Madine and CJ Hamilton all unavailable.

There is a relentless attitude to this team, something that has only grown through the adversity of the start of the season when the club could not buy a win despite creating a number of chances.

A close knit nature to their squad morale has translated into a structured, well-organised system that brings a high press and attacking fluidity to the fore.

Jerry Yates leads that system with his energy in the press as a lone striker doing the job that a standard two up top would provide, even as the clock ticked away into added time at the end of the game, the striker bolted from one side of the pitch to the other to close down a defensive pass.

Behind him is Elliot Embleton who has shot on to the scene in the past three games following his January move on loan from Sunderland.

Embleton’s intelligence in his movement is paramount to Blackpool’s fluidity in their play and ability to quickly move the ball from back to front, throughout this game he loitered in between the lines and was happy to take on the ball in tight areas.

On the left Sullay Kaikai has been under criticism for much of the season, having proven ineffectual for large parts, but the Kaikai that Blackpool supporters know exists is well and truly back.

He has been given more freedom to drift centrally and his understanding with Embleton alongside him has brought about a confidence shift that has transformed his play.

Demetri Mitchell has taken the mantle of CJ Hamilton on the right with both hands. His direct, pacey approach disrupted Posh’s backline all night and opened up space for others around him to exploit.

Then came Grant Ward.

Ward is a clever player, always a step ahead of the game and his interception work allowed Blackpool to maintain control of the ball in midfield, particularly when Peterborough were having spells of more attacking intent.

Kenny Dougall, whilst slack on the ball on occasion in the game, again made up for that with his positional sense and his partnership with Ward is something that has grown as the season has progressed.

Not to forget that although Dougall and Ward played centrally for Blackpool against Peterborough, they still have Matty Virtue and Kevin Stewart out injured, whilst Ethan Robson made an appearance from the bench.

That squad game and the vast amount of signings in both windows has left the Tangerines with one of the strongest squads in the league, despite the high frequency of injuries.

At centre half sat Ollie Turton, who is a natural right back and Jordan Thorniley, the club’s fourth choice centre back who was free to leave in January.

Both of them, particularly Turton, put in solid performances against the top scorer in the league in Jonson Clarke-Harris. It really highlights the squad mentality that is being implemented on the Fylde Coast.

No matter the personnel, there is a structured system that is tweaked based on opponent and well implemented throughout the team, it makes the system more important than the personnel and it shows in the consistency levels.

Jordan Gabriel as expected these days, provided an extra attacking option down the right hand side whilst also using his pace to hold a higher line and recover well against Siriki Dembele when required.

Luke Garbutt provided the third goal with a fine curling effort and his set piece play has added another dimension to Blackpool’s attacking outlets, allowing them to become more proficient from corners and free kicks where they had previously struggled.

And finally Chris Maxwell, his vocal captain presence is hard to miss. His command of the area and distribution play allows Critchley’s side to maintain a high tempo in attacking phases and his shot-stopping is calm when needed.

That is just the starting XI against Posh. Not to mention the likes of Madine and Hamilton before who have provided moments of quality to pick up big points in the division.

This Blackpool side is a well-oiled machine that has no signs of halting any time soon.

Now they have gained that elusive playoff position, they will not stop there and you would not bet against them pushing for automatic promotion with their games in hand.

Last night the Seasiders sent out a message to everyone around them in the division that they are serious and here to stay, and no one will fancy taking them on as the season goes on.

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