Date:Monday February 19 2007
SuddickTheKing writes about Blackpool's 1-0 defeat to Bristol City.
Having come away from Carrow Road with a mix of emotions last Tuesday, I trudged my weary way home after this latest defeat with only one: despondency. I`d allowed myself to get carried away by the euphoria of the last couple of months, conveniently ignoring the fact that 'Pool have been punching above their weight for a while now and that we`ve been lucky with injuries and suspensions. However, the cold reality is that we have a paper thin squad and once key players are missing we are unable to cope with their absence. The ship started to leak a while ago with an injury to Wes and a suspension to Keigan, but the SS Blackpool really hit the iceberg when our most influential player, Andy Morrell, became injured and the aforementioned duo suddenly hit a dip in form. Keigan is going through a lean spell, poor old BBB couldn`t score in a brothel at the moment (although his all round play is good) and that leaves SSV who, to his credit led the line well but couldn`t do it all on his own
A defeat to a good side like Bristol City is no disgrace some would say, and when you look at the chances we had you might be forgiven for thinking we were unlucky. However, in my book, Bristol were well organised and always looked potent going forward in numbers, defending a high line to compress play into our half and allowing their midfield to join in with the forwards. Contrast that to our back four. Jacko is so worried about pace (think Kuffour/Andrews) that he organises the defence in very deep positions - and backs off from there. This allows players to attack the space and shoot (think Huckerby). It also means that our midfield comes deeper which inevitably leaves the forwards isolated, hence the over use of the 'channel ball`. We were always going to concede - how many clean sheets this season? Promotion sides have solid defences and grind out 1-0`s when they have to. We don`t and we can`t; Bristol do and they did. Add to this an eyebrow raising selection of Forbes ahead of Gillett followed by some bewildering substitutions (can a team really change from 4-4-2 to 4-3-3 to 3-4-1-2 effectively in the space of 15 minutes?) and it was another bad day at the office. It isn`t the end of the world and my 'despondency` needs to be put into perspective, after all we`ve been talking about top six this season, not relegation.
However, our failure to significantly strengthen key areas (left back in particular) in January means that we will probably end up in upper middle table. That in itself is a positive, as were the performances of Barker, Evatt, Southern, Fox, Vernon and the fans who got behind the team magnificently again. At the end of the day, we have to accept that we are not good enough to go up and compete at Championship level on a week in/week out basis (as opposed to a Cup scenario). Larry needs to use the rest of this season to assess his squad and make some decisions, something he did well last time. He must then put the ball firmly in the board`s court from a team strengthening point of view and then we`ll see how much ambition there is for promotion.
Date:Monday February 19 2007
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