Blackpool boss Neil Critchley says their visit to Carlisle United is a must-win game – against a side that could be hard to predict.

The Seasiders are three points outside the League One play-off places with three games to go.

Critchley admits Blackpool will probably need to win all three of their remaining matches to stand a realistic chance of a top-six finish.

But taking on an already-relegated Blues side could pose certain challenges, he says.

“Now they [Carlisle] know what their fate is, that release of pressure can sometimes free players up – they have nothing to lose so it can make them a dangerous opponent,” Critchley told the BBC.

“I’m sure they’ll be looking to finish off their season with a positive feeling going into next season, and they’re playing at home, so I’m sure they’ll want to give a reward to their supporters for the season that they’ve had.

“And also, you’re never quite sure on team selection, what the manager might be thinking – he might be looking at next season, thinking of playing people in certain positions and certain partnerships, thinking they might be here for next season.

News and Star: Jordan Rhodes is sidelined for Blackpool this weekendJordan Rhodes is sidelined for Blackpool this weekend (Image: PA)

“We always look at the opposition and try and prepare but we can never take our eye off what we want to be about as a team and concentrate on ourselves.”

Blackpool, who will be backed by a sell-out travelling support at Brunton Park on Saturday, sit eighth in the table and back-to-back 1-0 wins have kept their promotion hopes alive.

That has been a familiar result of late with five of their last seven games ending in that scoreline either to the Tangerines or their opponents, with the other two finishing 0-0.

“If we can be more clinical, ruthless, show better quality, a couple of those ones would have been twos or threes,” added the visiting boss.

“We want to try and make it a bit more comfortable for ourselves but at this stage of the season winning games and taking points is a positive.

“We’re in the conversation and want to stay in there as long as possible. We think we’ll have to win all our remaining games, nine points, and take it to the last game of the season.

“We know we need to go to Carlisle and win.”

Critchley said striker Jordan Rhodes, who hit two in Blackpool’s 3-0 win over United in December, is ruled out with injury while Andy Lyons, the scorer that day, is also sidelined.

Midfielder Ollie Norburn is being assessed in training ahead of a potential return to the squad.