This Saturday marks the start of Blackpool's Championship season when they travel to the City Ground to take on Stuart Pearce's Nottingham Forest, and who knows what to expect?
The flurry of signings that have occurred over the past week or so have given much more reason for optimism amongst us fans, with new loan signing Joe Lewis meaning we finally have a starting 11 to play on Saturday.
Although, it seems rather ridiculous that I'm talking about this. When you think about, only just having a starting 11 only a few days before the season starts is far from perfect pre season preparation.
Nevertheless, the players that have entered through the door are hardly of a poor calibre. The likes of Jacob Mellis, Nathan Delfouneso and Jose Cubero amongst others are certainly capable of performing well in the division.
I only wish these transfers had been completed weeks ago, as soon as Riga took over. This would have given time for the squad to gel and get them playing the way Riga wants them to play, rushing them through the door at the last minute means the players will be learning what should have already been learnt in pre season, in actual league games.
Jose Riga will be a good manager, I am confident of that. I just hope he has the desire to stick it out in his current job and doesn't get too fed up working with Oyston. It would be a great shame if he left if things don't go Pool's way.
We have to be realistic and say that this isn't really going to be a promotion challenging season, that's rather obvious. Instead what is achievable is a decent mid table finish under Riga's leadership. A stable season would certainly be welcome after what's gone on in recent seasons.
The squad of course needs more additions though, there is no way the team would be able to go a whole season with the numbers they currently have. However, there are likely to be many more signings soon which is great news.
I don't believe we will be relegated this season, I really don't. I think there is enough quality in our team already to stay up, we just need more players of the same quality to bolster the squad and make it more competitive, as well as permitting us to cope with injuries/suspensions. I do however think it will take a little while for the squad to come together, they may struggle at the start of the season but will get better as time progresses.
We aren't yet sure how Riga will play either. It's known that he likes to play an open attacking game with lots of passing involved, but it's not too clear yet which sort of formation he'll play.
Nottingham Forest will be a big test for this Pool side. Forest's pre season preparation has been good and they have many talented players. The likes of Karl Darlow and Jamaal Lascelles (who have recently been signed by Newcastle and loaned back to the club) mean they are strong at the back whilst Jamie Mackie and Matt Fryatt provide a constant goal threat up front. This new look Pool side will have to gel quickly if they are to see off Forest.
Here's how I think we'll lineup:
CB- Mackenzie (if fit)
CM- Cubero (if allowed to play)
If Orlandi does sign by Saturday I imagine he'll play, as will Ishmael Miller if he ends up signing. Other than that, the team doesn't look to bad. Good luck to the team on Saturday and UTMP!
Dan Bennett. 5th August