FA Cup Preview: Ollie Rings The Changes
In recent history, Blackpool haven't been blessed with brilliant FA Cup draws. The Seasiders tended to get the Torquay's and Ipswich's rather than Manchester United's.
And now in the Premier League, the third round draw was no different with a trip to League One Southampton.
In a somewhat strange situation, Ian Holloway's side go into the game as obvious favourites - eight years after the Saints (including a certain Brett Ormerod up front) lost in the final to Arsenal.
That team, with plenty of goals from James Beattie, peaked in the top flight and the fall from grace has been a painfully quick one. But now with the likes of Adam Lallana and former Pool man Rickie Lambert, I'd be very surprised if they didn't win promotion to the Championship this season.
With players of that quality Southampton will be stern opposition for a Blackpool side including fringe and youth team players.
Ollie has said in the media that he will be resting most, if not all, of his first team. Premier League survival is the key and it is clear nobody would be upset if the home team beat an under-strength tangerine outfit.
With changes afoot, I thought I'd have a stab at predicting the Blackpool team:
Goalkeepers: Richard Kingson will be rested, with Mark Halstead and Paul Rachubka available. It looks like the latter will play his first game of the season.
Defence: Alex Baptiste hasn't been able to budge Neal Eardley at right back but looks set to make his return from injury whilst Rob Edwards and Dekel Keinan could team up as they did at Aston Villa in the middle. What is interesting is the left back position; Stephen Crainey hasn't travelled with the squad. Youth team full back Adam Dodd could be given the nod.
Midfield: With Adam and Vaughan not travelling with the squad, it will be up to Ludovic Sylvestre and Keith Southern to take hold of the midfield. I'd like to see Liam Thomsett given a go in the middle alongside the wiser heads - he seems to have the flair and ball control to hold his own in a three man midfield.
Forwards: Expect Jason Euell and Brett Ormerod to start and could be joined by a fit again Marlon Harewood.
Baptiste - Edwards - Keinan - Dodd
Southern - Sylvestre - Thomsett
Euell - Harewood - Ormerod
I'd expect the likes of Tom Barkhuizen and Matt Phillips to perhaps come off the bench. But a fixture does look ominous, with the likelihood of a cup run pretty minimal. But if Premier League safety is restored, then does it really matter?
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