Blackpool's October: Reality Check?
October Review (or 'Reality Kicks In') - SuddickTheKing
October traditionally signals change; from Autumn to winter, light nights to dark, and it has certainly seen a change in Blackpool's results and status.
To start the month we headed off to the Ricoh Arena full of hope and excitement at the prospect of visiting yet another super ground. Unfortunately, that was as good as it got, Larry changing our tried and trusted 4-4-2 to 4-5-1 and that, combined with a poor all round team performance led to a 3-1 defeat which in the end could have been much worse.
Two home games followed in quick succession and despite 'Pool creating chances galore, yet again they failed to take them and two draws with only one goal scored told it's own story.
Unfortunately, this meant that our next two games - both away - became huge in terms of needing something out of them. West Bromwich Albion at the Hawthorns is not an easy place to go and so it proved with 'Pool being edged out 2-1 in a highly entertaining game. The fact that we played the much fancied Baggies off the park for long periods meant nothing as we succumbed to a 'wonder goal'. We took the plaudits but not the points.
Travelling to Hillsborough next 'Pool fans were still feeling reasonably confident after the good performance at WBA and bearing in mind Sheffield Wednesday's poor home form. Well, we should have known better and in what was possibly the worst Blackpool performance since last season we lost 2-1 again.
Suddenly, the trapdoor was open and fifth from bottom was a precarious place to be. We'd long since lost the winning habit and a threadbare squad made even worse by injuries to Burgess, Morrell and Southern should set off alarm bells in the corridors of Bloomfield Road.
The gutsy and impressive performance at Tottenham only highlighted the obvious and hard truth - that this squad is playing at 100% but it just isn't good enough to capitalise on the periods of domination and the number of chances created. It has only taken those three injuries to virtually create a crisis.
After the latest results we are now in the relegation zone and, as Alan Hansen said 'the table doesn't lie'. How true. We are there because no matter how well we have performed we are not yet up to Championship quality. We have failed to significantly strengthen since promotion - ask yourself and answer honestly, is the team that takes to the pitch at Oakwell really better than the one that played at Wembley? In most respects it is exactly the same. I would rate Crainey better than Williams and GTF better than Forbes but that's about it. Again I must emphasise that I am not having a pop at any individuals, I have repeatedly said that I think they are giving everything - alas, it just isn't enough. As we have seen again and again playing well for two thirds of the pitch doesn't get you points and in this division that is what it is all about - the ability to win. That may sound obvious but it is something that eludes us at the moment.
Waiting until January to strengthen is a risky strategy as we could well be adrift by then. We have games coming up in November which are on our list of 'must wins' and losing to the likes of Scunthorpe just doesn't bear thinking about. However, now is not the time to panic and I'm sure that Tony Parkes' experience will be invaluable. We have to stay solid and hope that we get one or two breaks. If we could just grind out that elusive three points November will look a whole lot better.