Xmas Cheer For 'Pool?
The Christmas period could make or break The Seasiders' season; games against Coventry, Sheffield United, Colchester and Burnley present Simon Grayson's side with 12 points, sitting their waiting to be won.
First up is Coventry on Saturday at Bloomfield Road. The Sky Blues sit just six points ahead of Blackpool in the table, and recently narrowly escaped administration after a takeover fronted by former Manchester City defender Ray Ranson just an hour before the deadline. If a takeover hadn`t occurred, City would be sitting bottom of The Championship after a ten point deduction. As it stands however, is that Iain Dowie's men drew 1-1 at home to Southampton and will be looking to kick on from there.
Vital Prediction: Blackpool 1 - 1 Coventry
Sheffield United - and their £24 tickets - present a different sort of challenge to the quick passing football of Coventry, as Bryan Robson's team like to get the ball up as quickly as possible to James Beattie - who hasn't scored in five games - and then feed off him from there. As of late, Robson has adopted a 4-4-2 approach at home, something that isn't so away, as The Blades pack the midfield with a five, and normally have a creative player in behind Beattie. The 4-4-2 system should be ok for Evatt and co to deal with, who should have no problems (apart from the former England striker up there of course!) with the direct game, but I fear that if United change it to 4-5-1 we may come unstuck as they'll look to get the ball down a bit more and play.
Vital Prediction: Sheffield United 2 - 1 Blackpool
Colchester away seems to be the best chance to get three points out of the games. United - with Sheringham and Lisbie up front - should cause us some problems with ball into feet and in behind, and winger Mark Yeates was a handful with his dead balls at Bloomfield Road in the first fixture. The U's' record at home is what propelled them into an top half finish last term, but has been patchy so far this term, with only two wins at Layer Road so far. Currently sitting in the bottom three, it's imperative that Geraint Williams' side don't beat us.
Vital Prediction: Colchester United 1 - 2 Blackpool
Andy Morrell's goal with only minutes remaining at Turd Moor sent 3500 Blackpool fans into raptures to earn a well deserved point back in September; what will News Year Day bring as the Lancashire derbies come thick and fast? Owen Coyle's Clampets are still smarting after defeat at home to Preston this week (embarrassing eh!) but despite sketchy home form, are brilliant away, and it'll be a really tough game. Burnley have travelled to Charlton, Wolves and Watford in the last few weeks, and come away with nine points. Having said that, Grayson will have the men in tangerine really fired up, and 'Pool will be keen to keep up their good record this season in the Lancashire derbies.
Vital Prediction: Blackpool 1 - 1 Burnley
It'd be catastrophic if we were to lose all of the games over Christmas, and a damp way to head out of 2007, but if we picked up anymore than five points then Christmas in Blackpool would be a very warm one. With January to follow, and the transfer window, with the club promising that money will be spent, 2008 could bring fresh hope and optimism.
Just four games to go, and then the real Christmas starts; bring on the Eastern European Superstars!