Seasiders 17 points adrift of trap door

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Scott Hunt

BLACK­POOL boss Lee Clark ad­mits the up­com­ing in­ter­na­tional break will give him a chance to pre­pare for next sea­son af­ter a draw against Leeds edged the Seasiders closer to rel­e­ga­tion.

Gary Ma­dine had given Black­pool the lead just be­fore the break, but Ital­ian for­ward Mirco An­tenucci struck just af­ter the hour to ex­tend Leeds’ un­beaten run to five games.

Black­pool, the Cham­pi­onship’s bot­tom side, are now 17 points adrift of safety with just seven games to go. Fans clash­ing in the stands added to their mis­ery.

And Clark, whose side are with­out a win in 11 games, says his at­ten­tions are al­ready on next term with a two-week break to look for­ward to.

“We are in the process of work­ing for next sea­son so the next two weeks will be a con­tin­u­a­tion of that,” he said. “We are talk­ing to play­ers and mak­ing as­sess­ments. I’m in regular con­tact with my chief scout.We’re look­ing at play­ers.

“We’ve got to make Black­pool an at­trac­tive propo­si­tion, a club where it’s not a last-stop shop for some­body, not where they’ve ex­plored all their av­enues and they’re go­ing to come here and get a big salary and fin­ish their play­ing days. We need young hun­gry play­ers.

“The lads are play­ing for their fu­tures in foot­ball and they’ve shown me that they can de­liver per­for­mances. Whether it’s with Black­pool or not, they’ve got to fight for their fu­ture.

“We should have won the game, we de­served to. The play­ers de­served three points. There were lots of good in­di­vid­ual per­for­mances out there.”

Be­fore kick-off there were more protests by Black­pool fans against the clubs own­ers, with one ban­ner read­ing ‘RIP BFC: Killed by Greed 2015’ be­fore many sup­port­ers boy­cotted the game to watch AFC Black­pool in­stead.

Leeds al­most took the lead af­ter 39 min­utes when Char­lie Tay­lor drib­bled through the Black­pool de­fence but couldn’t poke un­der Joe Lewis.

But it was Black­pool who struck first in the 44th minute when Ma­dine put them ahead, nod­ding into an empty net from six yards af­ter An­drea Or­landi’s free-kick came back off the bar.

The home side had a good chance to dou­ble their lead three min­utes into the sec­ond half as Ma­dine rose high­est to meet Michael Ja­cobs’ cor­ner, but could only head wide from 12 yards.

Leeds squan­dered a great chance on the hour mark when Gae­tano Ber­ardi’s cross found An­tenucci 12 yards out, but he volleyed just over with his right-foot as he rushed into the area.

But he made amends a minute later when a long ball for­ward found him in be­hind the chaotic Black­pool de­fence and he lobbed it over Lewis from 12 yards to equalise for Leeds.

Leeds manager Neil Red­fearn be­moaned the state of the pitch and says he doesn’t know whether his fu­ture will be sorted out over the in­ter­na­tional break.

“It’s a fair re­sult be­cause it’s a dif­fi­cult sur­face to play on and it’s whether you can avoid mak­ing many mis­takes,” Red­fearn said.

“I have to say it must be an ab­so­lute night­mare for them try­ing to get re­sults on this. It’s just a quag­mire.

“All it needs is a path through the mid­dle and you’ve got park play­ing fields.

“We didn’t start well, we didn’t play the con­di­tions right. I changed it and we looked bet­ter.

“You come to Black­pool, bot­tom of the league and every­body thinks you’re go­ing to beat them six and seven and it doesn’t work like that.

“I’ve just got to keep do­ing what I’m do­ing, the de­ci­sion on my fu­ture is up to the di­rec­tors. If it were me, I would!”

PIC­TURES: Ac­tion Images

UGLY SCENES: Fans clash in the stands

OFF THE MIRC: Mirco An­tenucci, right, cel­e­brates scor­ing Leeds’ equaliser

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