We don’t fear the Hatters, says Neil
BLACKPOOL didn’t manage to take a point off Luton Town or score against them in the regular season – but experienced midfielder Neil Danns isn’t quaking in his boots.
The Hatters beat Blackpool 1-0 and 2-0 and finished fourth in the table, while the Seasiders came seventh.
Ex-Crystal Palace and Bolton midfielder Danns, who netted the opener as Blackpool booked their play-off place with a 3-1 win against relegated Leyton Orient last week, said: “We’re under no illusions it’s going to be a tough game. They finished fourth for a reason.
“But we don’t fear any team in this league, as you’ve seen with some of the results we’ve had against the likes of Plymouth, Doncaster and Carlisle, so we’ll be going into the two games believing we can win.
“I’m sure they will be doing the same because both teams are here on merit. It’s one where we’ve just got to go toe to toe.”
Luton are favourites but Danns says Blackpool can spoil their party and return to League One at the first time of asking.
“Our goal isn’t to get to Wembley. Our goal is to get up,” said the 34year-old. “To do that we know we’ve got to beat teams who deserve to be in the play-offs.
“It doesn’t matter if we play them now or in the final because, if you’re looking for an easy tie, I think you’ve got the wrong attitude.
“There are no easy ties, and for us it’s not just about getting to Wembley. There’s no point getting to Wembley and failing. In that respect, we didn’t really care who we played.”
Danns says Blackpool will treat the play-off games just like a normal league game.
He added: “The boys will all be preparing properly, so it’s no different to any other week for us. We’ll train the way we normally do and, hopefully, that will stand us in good stead.”
If Blackpool can win a place in the third tier, a lot of the credit will go to manager Gary Bowyer.
Problems on and off the pitch saw the Tangerines drop from the Premier League to League Two in just six years. But, under Bowyer, things have improved on the pitch and he believes there is reason for optimism around Bloomfield Road.
He said: “When we first took over, it was about rebuilding the club, trying to get good people in, working with them and getting smiles on people’s faces again. We’ve managed to do that so far.
“But now we’re in the play-offs we’ve got to give it a right good go, commit to the work we need to do and see where it takes us.”
Former Blackburn boss Bowyer arrived in June and set about assembling a squad prepared to fight for each other and the club.
And, in a very tight finish to the regular season, Blackpool squeezed into the playoff mix.
Bowyer says he is not surprised by the club making the play-offs.
“The players have been committed and prepared to do the work to improve,” he said. “Now they’ve got the opportunity to keep on improving.”