Manager Terry McPhillips predicted a possible Premier League future for Armand Gnanduillet after the striker scored twice as Blackpool beat bottom-club Bradford 4-1 at Valley Parade.
A third defeat in a row was a serious blow to Bradford’s League One survival hopes and they remain six points adrift of safety, but the win was a boost to Blackpool’s play-off ambitions, with them now only two points off the top six.
The loss completed a miserable day for Bradford manager Gary Bowyer, who had a successful two-year spell at Blackpool, leading them to promotion from League Two before leaving one match into the current season.
Gnanduillet opened the scoring and then added a third after Matthew Virtue’s effort, with Eoin Doyle seeing his penalty saved by Seasiders keeper Christoffer Mafoumbi.
Chris Taylor notched a fourth before David Ball grabbed a consolation in stoppage time.
McPhillips said: “Armand was outstanding. If he plays like that he is bound for the Premier League. His heading, his hold-up play, the way he sets things up – he is improving all the time.
“It was an outstanding performance, especially after last week’s 3-0 defeat at Burton. We have set a marker down as to what we can do. A lot of these lads were signed by Gary and they showed him what they can do.
“Now we have got to take this performance into next week – it is as simple as that. We have set the standard. This is what we have to achieve in every game between now and the end of the season.”
Bowyer, who won his first game in charge but has now lost his other three, said: “I am fuming – at the result, parts of the performance, the manner of the goals conceded. I totally understand the fans’ frustration.
“I don’t think there was much in the game in the first half, but we talked about marking the big lad Armand Gnanduillet and we didn’t. We left him free.
“We had a reaction in the second half, but then we got dispossessed on the edge of the box and they went to the other end and scored.
“Then came the big moment, the penalty. That miss changed the game and sucked the life out of us and I didn’t like what I saw after that.
“We have got a tough challenge and the challenge has become harder but we will not give up.”