Clark: Seasiders will survive
BLACKPOOL boss Lee Clark says his battlers have what it takes to save their skins after he watched them snare a precious point in their frantic race for survival.
Clark’s players bounced back from an early Jordan Rhodes opener to frustrate their hosts in this Lancashire derby as Blackburn’s hopes of mounting a serious play-off chase were dented by Grant Hall’s equaliser.
And Clark is backing his men to fight to the finish in a bid to escape the Championship trap door while opposing manager Gary Bowyer admitted Rovers’ own killer instinct deserted them.
“The application of my players to get a battling point was fantastic,” Clark said.
“I knew the situation when I came to the club but I thought we could stay up and I still think we can.
“The players keep fighting and they won’t be throwing in the towel.
“When you have a group of players that are still up for the fight then you have to stand and fight alongside them and that’s what myself and the staff are prepared to do.
“Things can happen in football which are absolutely outrageous and while there is the possibility of saving ourselves then we have to hope we can.
“When you stay in the game there is always a possibility of getting something from it and that’s exactly what we did.”
Rhodes struck with the game’s early goal when Craig Conway burst into the Blackpool penalty area before squaring the ball to the perennial marksman for an easy tap in on 14 minutes.
Blackburn almost scored a second only for Matt Kilgallon to put his volley into the stand when he met Conway’s 31st minute corner unmarked.
But it was Blackpool who found the net next to level matters – Hall heading in Peter Clarke’s flick from a 42nd minute Jamie O’Hara set-piece.
And the Seasiders had their hosts on the rocks when another O’Hara free-kick hit the post before striking Rovers keeper Jamie Steele with Hall just unable to capitalise on the rebound.
Blackburn were inches from going back in front when Rhodes attempted a spectacular overhead kick before the ball dropped agonisingly wide six minutes into the second-half.
Rudy Gestede then hit the crossbar with a looping header from Conway’s corner and lightning struck twice for the unlucky striker when he performed the same trick again soon after.
Only a full length save from Joe Lewis could deny Blackburn from snatching the spoils as he thwarted Rhodes from the edge of the box before Tom Cairney and Alex Baptiste both put the ball wide in injury-time.
“We had enough chances to have probably won two games,” Bowyer said. “It is frustrating that we weren’t ruthless enough to convert them. We needed more killer instinct in executing the opportunities we created.
“Even at the death we had chances but I have to give the lads full credit for keeping going until the end. They are frustrated and disappointed but we have to try and bounce back.
“We have done a lot of work on defending set-pieces in the last few weeks but players have to take responsibility. But we are four games unbeaten and that is one way of looking at things although I am sure the pessimists won’t see it like that.”
ADVANTAGE: Jordan Rhodes fires home to give Blackburn the lead at Ewood Park – but it didn’t last
LEVEL: Grant Hall celebrates his goal