The Case for the Defence
Goals scored = 12
Goals conceded = 64
Clean sheets = 12
Defenders used = 9
Loan defenders used = 2 - Tony McMahon (2) and Matt Jackson (2)
Top scorer = Kaspars Gorkss (8)
Most appearances = Shaun Barker (50)
At the start of the season many fans questioned how our defence would cope with a higher calibre of strikers with the likes of James Beattie, Kevin Phillips and Sylvan Ebanks-Blake coming up against Michael Jackson and Kaspars Gorkss.
I believe that all the defenders we have used this season have performed admirably rising to the occasion in most cases. With the exceptions of the Charlton, Cardiff and Plymouth away defeats and the last 15 minutes against West Brom at Bloomfield Road, the backline of Blackpool has been solid.
Undoubtedly our star performer at centre back has been Kaspars Gorkss. The Latvian international has consistently produced high quality performances including several memorable goals, finishing second top scorer.
But even Kaspars was over shadowed by the ever present Stephen Crainey at left back. The Scot was rarely beaten by the opposition`s right winger and Craines quickly established himself as the first name on the team sheet.
Shaun Barker once again didn`t miss a single league game and he continued where he left off in League One, adapting competently to the step up in quality.
Ian Evatt and Michael Jackson, who along with Barker formed a formidable partnership in Pool`s promotion season, were generally solid as well. Evatt missed a large chunk of the season through injury, however when in the side Evatt was strong and composed despite the odd blemish. Club captain Jacko has been ruthlessly released by Grayson despite leading the side with great character and commitment.
While the defence has been quite solid throughout the season this is an area in which Larry will be looking to strengthen in the next few weeks with a young, pacy centre half surely top of his priority list.