Blackpool dealt huge pre-Derby County blow ahead of clash, Ian Evatt says Bolton can still 'improve'

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A roundup of the latest headlines in League One ahead of Friday's 3pm fixtures.

League One football returns today for a bumper Friday of action, with all fixtures taking place at 3pm around the country. Portsmouth will visit Adams Park today for their clash with Wycombe Wanderers as they look to keep their lead running strong at the top of the table.

The promotion action is spicing up too as teams battle for second place and the remaining play-off spots. As we prepare for this afternoon's round of fixtures, let's take a look at some of the latest headlines around the division as Portsmouth look at who could be joining them in the Championship next season.

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Blackpool handed major blow ahead of Derby clash

Derby County will be clinging on to their lead in second place over the rest of the promotion-pushing teams as we enter the business end of the 2023/24 season. The Rams are currently on 78 points but those below them all hold at least one game in-hand, with big opportunities to close the gap.

However, upcoming opponents Blackpool have been dealt a serious injury blow ahead of their clash at Pride Park this afternoon. Neil Critchley has confirmed that loanee Jordan Rhodes, who has scored 15 goals this season, has returned to his parent club Huddersfield Town to undergo treatment on a knee ligament injury. It remains to be seen whether Rhodes will be fit enough to return to Blackpool before the season ends, putting huge strain on their push to finish inside the play-offs bracket.

Ian Evatt rallies the troops

Bolton Wanderers hold a game in-hand over second-placed Derby and have the opportunity to significantly close the gap between them and the second automatic promotion spot this season. The Trotters currently have 74 points on the board ahead of their clash with Stevenage, but they will certainly feel that recently performances should have warranted a higher tally.

Bolton have also been hit with some unfortunate injury blows to key players this season, including top goalscorer Dion Charles. However, despite feeling the odds are somewhat stacked against them, manager Ian Evatt has stressed that the club can't just rely on luck going their way.

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"All you can do is try to focus on your own responsibilities," he told The Bolton News. "As much as I feel we have been unfortunate, I still think there is a great deal we can improve upon. You have to take luck out of the equation — that is our focus now. It is where the focus has been over the last week, trying to polish some of the good things I have seen in the last few weeks."

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