Vital Football

Latest Blackpool FC News

The Numbers Game

The Numbers Game

Cast your mind back to just under twelve months ago and our important 4-2 victory away at Scunthorpe United. Can you remember our subs bench that day? Here it is if you can't: Paul Rachubka, Rob Edwards, Jason Euell, David Vaughan, Barry Bannan, Hameur Bouazza, DJ Campbell.

Strong eh?

DJ came off the bench to score twice that day as 'Pool maintained their charge towards the Premier League.

A couple of weeks later when we beat Forest 3-1 at home (with DJ scoring twice again), our subs bench included Rabs, Billy Clarke, Barry Bannan and Stephen Dobbie.

Our subs benches in the playoffs were equally as strong: Rabs, Clarke, Big Ben Burgess (there's always an exception to the rule! ;)), Euell, Edwards, Bannan and Dobbie.

Compare that to our bench from when we dramatically beat Watford 3-2 in January (our only victory that month): Matt Gilks, Edwards, Andy Butler, Al Bangura, Ishmel, Daniel Nardiello and Burgess. Pretty weak by comparison, eh?

What's my point you might be wondering. Well, it's pretty clear to me that our squad depth towards the end of last season was a very important factor in us securing promotion to the Premier League.

You only need to look at the benches from our sticky patch around the turn of the year last season to see how stretched and lacking in options we were at times.

Come the crucial last few weeks of the season though, we had options in every position. This not only meant that we were fielding a strong side week in week out, but that we had positive game-changing players to utilise from the bench (see DJ v Scunthorpe).

Furthermore, the players were playing for their shirts every week. They knew that if they underperformed that there was somebody there waiting to replace them, and that Ian Holloway was not frightened to make changes.

Fast forward to this season, and our squad depth could again prove to be crucial as we battle to retain our Premier League status.

Just like this time last year, our squad has look stretched over the past few weeks as injuries and suspensions have taken their toll on our side (undoubtedly a contributing factor to our bad run of form).

However, as the subs bench against Chelsea proved, players are beginning to hit the comeback trail, and if we can keep everyone fit for the remainder of the season then we actually have a strong squad to utilise, much like last season.

Take the goalkeeping situation. Although Matt Gilks picked up an injury in yesterday's 7-2 reserve hammering at Chelsea, he is expected to be fit for the Fulham game. Meanwhile, Paul Rachubka has also returned to training. All this puts pressure on current number one Richard Kingson and creates geniune competition for places.

At centre half, Chris Basham is nearing full fitness and will look to challenge Ian Evatt, Craig Cathcart and Alex Baptiste for their places in the side before the season is out. You can add Rob Edwards to the mix as well, presuming that he's recalled from his loan at Norwich after 28 days.

On the flanks, we have the likes of Luke Varney, Gary Taylor-Fletcher, Jason Puncheon, Matt Phillips and David Carney all competing for places, whilst up top we have DJ Campbell (once he's completed his suspension), James Beattie, Sergei Kornilenko and Marlon Harewood (presuming that he's recalled from his loan spell at Barnsley) fighting it out for a place in the side.

All in all, over the coming weeks, we should have real competition for places, and just like last season, that could prove to be vital, not only in the sense that we can field strong starting XI, but have strong and game-changing options on the bench as well.

Just like last season as well, the players will be playing for the shirt and their place in the side everytime they enter the field of play. Many of them are playing for new deals as well.

All positive stuff so far, but a word of warning: Ollie's dropped the ball several times of late in regards to his team selections and use of substitutes. There's no point in having a big squad if you don't utilise it correctly.

Hopefully the big man will go back to last season and think just how he managed his squad over the final few weeks and look to recreate that. If he does, then we might just win the most important numbers game of them all - getting enough points to secure Premier League safety.

Join The Vital Debate

Exclusive to Vital ! Read now ! The Vital Boxing John H Stracey Interview



Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

Writer:Eamonn Moore
Date:Tuesday March 15 2011
Time: 5:29PM

Login to post a comment

Recent Blackpool Articles

Vital Preview - League 2, 10th December 2016

The 2016-17 season continues with the latest round of games this weekend. This will see us among those involved with three points of course the aim.

Match Day Officials v Stevenage (10/12/16)

The Football League have now announced the Match Day officials that will take charge of the game against Stevenage this weekend.

Trophy Delight For Bowyer

Manager Gary Bowyer has given his thoughts on Blackpool's progression through to round three of the EFL Trophy this season.

EFL Trophy Third Round Draw Tomorrow

With Tuesday evening seeing the bulk of the EFL Trophy second round ties taking place...

Archived Vital Blackpool Articles

Vital Blackpool articles from

Site Journalists

Write for Vital Blackpool
Write For Vital Blackpool
Apply Here

Current Poll (see more polls)

Stevenage v Blackpool
Suggested By:
Blackpool win0%
Stevenage win0%
Draw0%
ScoopDragon Publishing Entire League Network of Sites

League Table

# Team P W D L Pts. GD
1 Doncaster 19 12 3 4 39 14
2 Carlisle 19 10 8 1 38 14
3 Plymouth 19 12 2 5 38 8
4 Portsmouth 19 9 4 6 31 12
5 Luton 19 8 7 4 31 10
6 Yeovil 19 8 4 7 28 1
7 Wycombe 19 8 4 7 28 1
8 Blackpool 19 7 6 6 27 11
9 Stevenage 19 8 3 8 27 1
10 Barnet 19 6 9 4 27 0
11 Grimsby 19 7 5 7 26 2
12 Crewe 19 6 8 5 26 -3
13 Cambridge 19 7 4 8 25 -2
14 Mansfield 19 6 7 6 25 -4
15 Colchester 19 6 5 8 23 1
16 Crawley 19 6 5 8 23 -11
17 Morecambe 19 7 2 10 23 -13
18 Hartlepool 19 5 7 7 22 -4
19 Notts County 19 6 4 9 22 -8
20 Accrington 19 5 6 8 21 -5
21 Exeter 19 6 2 11 20 -5
22 Leyton Orient 19 5 3 11 18 -5
23 Cheltenham 19 3 9 7 18 -8
24 Newport 19 4 5 10 17 -7
The Vital Football Members League
Latest F1 News
Latest Vital Boxing News
Vital Football Comment

Recent Blackpool Results (view all)

Blackpool Fixtures (view all)

Dec 10 2016 3:00PM : Stevenage (a)
Sky Bet League Two
Dec 17 2016 3:00PM : Luton Town (H)
Sky Bet League Two
Dec 26 2016 3:00PM : Hartlepool United (a)
Sky Bet League Two
Dec 31 2016 3:00PM : Grimsby Town (a)
Sky Bet League Two
Jan 2 2017 3:00PM : Mansfield Town (H)
Sky Bet League Two
Jan 7 2017 3:00PM : Crawley Town (H)
Sky Bet League Two

Vital Members League Table

RankNamePoints
1.SeasideEssexXile100
2.premier 193
3.SaskPool55
4.Hastings34
5.Layton_Seasider34
6.Bear195131
7.BobHatton18
8.suffolknwot14
9.liverpoolseasider11
10.nunu6
Write for Vital Football