Date:Monday August 27 2012
Three games in, three wins, and a lack of a miserable trip to Sunderland in a League Cup game nobody would have fancied. Not least Ian Holloway, who surely will not have relished probable defeat to put a dent to a blistering start to the season.
It is all looking fairly rosy on the Fylde Coast; even though Blackpool have only beaten one other team tipped to do well, Leeds United, the manner of victories have been so impressive that bookies now make them third favourites for promotion.
Betting patterns aren't to be taken too seriously, but the money now being placed on the Seasiders signifies the national respect for the way in which they attack, retain possession and grind the opposition down.
New signings Tiago Gomes and Isaiah Osbourne have fitted into the midfield three seamlessly with added flair and steel, but will be pleased that Pool do not need to travel to the north-east tomorrow - Morecambe's prize for the first round victory two weeks ago. The reason for that is two-fold. If the pair were to be chosen at the Stadium of Light it is yet another game - four in 10 days - to contend with. That might have been unlikely given the size of Holloway's squad, but if they were rested that stops the momentum slightly.
A good job then that the Shrimps dealt a reality check, although some would argue that fringe players getting a run out would prove more beneficial than losing would prove momentum-crushing.
Saturday's opponents Leicester City play Burton Albion tomorrow. There are a number of positives from a Blackpool point of view. A Foxes defeat disrupts them further following an indifferent start to the season; a win gives Nigel Pearson a selection headache and thus more liable to make pre-match tactical mistakes; a draw means extra-time and tired legs.
All this is 'best case' scenario-type stuff, such is the confidence we supporters already possess towards the club's chances this campaign. That is great. Never before - well, since 1991 - has there been such a good start. At the comparative stage during the 2009/10 promotion season, Blackpool were struggling for goals and drew each of the first three games.
This time last year Brighton and Derby had won thrice each. But so too had Southampton, scoring nine and conceding three. 12 months previous, QPR boasted a 100% record.
It is a start, and that is all. There are, however, comparisons to be drawn either way. It is simply a case of what side you, as a fan, come down on. Are Blackpool to emulate the successful pacesetters or fall by the wayside? Contrary to popular belief, the next two fixtures will not provide us with many answers.
Brighton kept up their early good form, winning four our of five - the only blot was a 2-2 draw against Pool - while Southampton and Derby both lost games. The year before, QPR, Cardiff and Ipswich set the early benchmark.
The only thing we can glean is that two of the three early frontrunners tail off. But when? Typically, it is around the 10th game. The Rams and Seagulls were slipping by then while the Saints remained top. Neil Warnock's Rangers were six points clear the year before as the Tractor Boys began to lose matches. Cardiff, on the other hand, tried to sty intact with the leaders and did so until February - an anomaly because on the whole they generally begin well and end poorly (see 09/10 also).
After the trip to the Walkers, we shall see who the three will be. History dictates that two will falter, but it is never usually the one who's scoring more and conceding less. The fact there is no meaningless League Cup to deal with this week can only be a good thing.
Date:Monday August 27 2012
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