Blackpool made a statement to the rest of the division as they dismantled Gillingham at Bloomfield Road

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Blackpool put in a fantastic performance as the Tangerines dismantled Gillingham beating the Gills 4-1.

The Seasiders opened the scoring through Jerry Yates in the fifth minute. Jordan Graham equalised for the Gills, but Yates soon fired Blackpool back in front with Sullay Kaikai finishing off a fine move for the third.

A well-managed second half from the Tangerines saw Elliot Embleton place home a fourth and a dominant display could have seen even more for the hosts who look like the best side in the division right now.

If anybody doubted that Blackpool are capable of promotion, then this performance answered any remaining questions.

The Tangerines are a serious force not only for Play-Off promotion but for automatic promotion as well.

What summed up the mentality of this squad right now was the intensity of their pressing as the minutes ticked away into added time at the end of the game.

Each and every substitute came on with a point to prove and enabled Blackpool to continue to push forward into the dying embers of the game rather than withstand a late Gillingham onslaught.

Their ability to get the ball forward from back to front, whilst doing so on the floor playing through the lines, was sensational and it meant that the tempo was too much for Gills to handle, being overrun in midfield throughout the proceedings.

In defence, the Seasiders grew into the game and learned from their earlier errors to combat the likes of John Akinde with much more proficiency heading into the second-half.

The intelligence in positional sense from Dan Ballard spelled out the level that he can play at. He is without a doubt capable of making the step up to the Championship if not the Premier League.

Ballard is composed on the ball as well as off it and is developing as a leader in the central defensive position that stands him as one of the best young talents in the country.

Ollie Turton has filled in at centre half in recent weeks but took his place in his rightful home at full-back as Jordan Gabriel was dropped to the bench and took the game in his stride.

Turton has developed more of an attacking output to his game over recent months and it has allowed Blackpool to interchange between him and Gabriel, owing to the depth in the squad that has been built.

Despite key absentees continuing to be out of the frame for Neil Critchley’s side, it has highlighted the importance of the adaptability to the system that the squad as a whole have shown.

It is very much an interchangeable unit now and whilst there is still somewhat of a reliance on individual quality to provide the important moments, such as with Jerry Yates now on 20 league goals, the unit as a whole is what makes everything work.

The intensity of Blackpool’s press allows them to defend from the front and force mistakes from the opposition, but if their opponent are forced long and direct then Blackpool have the means to compete and win aerial battles.

Should they need to go direct themselves they have threats in behind but also have players up top who can hold up the ball and bring others into play.

If they need to focus their attacking play in the wide areas, they have the quality of delivery but also the pace on the overlap to overload the wings.

Finally, if they are forced to play through the middle then they have the central figures who have quality on the ball to play in tight areas and open up space as they loiter in between the lines.

They are the perfect side, with the perfect individuals in a perfect system.

They are relentless and will only grow stronger as the likes of Marvin Ekpiteta, Daniel Gretarsson and Gary Madine return to the fold.

Promotion was the shout from within the club in the first half of the season and now it is the shout from anyone who has watched this Blackpool team in recent weeks

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