Big Smith blow for Spireites
Captain Alex Baptiste believes Blackpool are now in a relegation
battle after their poor run of form.
Just one win from six games under recently-appointed manager
Paul Ince has seen the the Seasiders drop to 17th in the npower
Championship table, four points from the relegation places.
Top of the table in September, the Tangerines must now focus
their attentions towards the other end of the division and Baptiste
admits his team mates must be realistic about the threat of the
He told the Blackpool Gazette: “It’s a relegation battle we are
“We probably need a little bit more quality. We need to start
adding more goals to our game.
“We had a look at the table after the game and there are 11
teams involved down there.
“It’s all to play for in the next eight games.”
Much of the pre-match attention has focused on how Gordon
Strachan’s men can deal with the considerable threat posed by the
25-goal Tottenham forward when they take on Chris Coleman’s side at
Hampden on Friday night.
But Wigan defender Caldwell has already been part of a team that
has successfully snubbed out the 23-year-old after the Latics
escaped White Hart Lane with a surprise 1-0 win back in
Ben Watson struck the only goal in that London victory for
Roberto Martinez’s side but Caldwell insists it was a cautious
team-wide approach that was key to keeping the lightning-quick Bale
quiet that day – and claims a similar set of tactics will be
necessary if Scotland are to do the same.
Asked if it was possible to halt the man who scored both Welsh
goals in their 2-1 win over the Scots last October, he said: “It
can be done. We went to White Hart Lane with Wigan this year and
won 1-0 and we stopped him as a team. That’s the key to it.
“He’s one of the best in the world when he gets players
one-on-one. But as a team, I think we can stop him.
“We have spoken about it as a team this week and gone into
detail about how we are going to do that and we will be ready for
The column inches generated on Bale have only increased with
news that illness and an ankle injury sustained in Spurs’ weekend
meeting with Fulham had prevented him from training for much of
But Caldwell insists that is a slight to the other players from
both sides who could yet play a major part.
He said: “It’s pretty disrespectful to the other players. You
look at Craig Bellamy, Joe Allen, Ashley Williams – Wales have got
top players playing at big clubs in the Premier League.
“Everyone goes on about Bale and rightly so, because he is one
of the best players in the world. But we have got players,
especially at the top end of the pitch, who can really hurt
Caldwell links up with Strachan once more for the manager’s
first competitive match following on from their time together with
The new boss faces a major challenge if he is to reach the World
Cup in Brazil, with the Group A table ominously placing Scotland
rock bottom and without a win after four games.
That was the mess left for him by predecessor Craig Levein, a
state of affairs which prompted former Wales winger Mickey Thomas
to label the current tartan crop the worst in Scotland’s
Captain Caldwell, though, was not interested in those comments,
saying: “I’ve been part of a few ‘worst Scotland team ever’
headlines in the past, so that doesn’t bother me.
“Friday night will be the judge of how good a team we are and
how much we have progressed.”
The 26-year-old suffered the injury during the first half of the
Spireites’ away win at Oxford last weekend and missed the defeat at
Torquay on Tuesday night while the club’s medical staff ascertained
the extent of the problem.
Scans have shown that the left-back has broken a bone at the top
of his foot.
Cook said: “There’s damage to the bone and with so few matches
remaining that means he won’t play again (this season), which is a
Meanwhile, midfielder Craig Clay has resumed training following
a hernia operation last month.
“He has joined in today (Thursday), and when I say joined in I
mean as a first step towards a return to full fitness,” said
“He won’t be involved at the weekend but maybe he has a chance
of being included over the Bank Holiday weekend against Burton and