Seasiders' Amazing April
Forum member, SuddickTheKing writes about the amazing April that has landed Simon Grayson the manager of the month award.
April, the month of my birth and always a time to take stock of life in general and hopefully feel the inspiration that comes with light nights and better weather. This year however, it had an extra dimension - Blackpool FC!
I ended my March review with 'We need to continue to 'win ugly' if necessary and hold our nerve. We are in pole position, let's hope we can stay there`. Stay there we have! Our run has been nothing short of miraculous and not only have we 'won ugly` we have also - against the Champions - won well. I keep thinking that I will wake up and it will have all just been a dream; well, our situation has a dream like quality and I keep pinching myself to check it is real.
We opened the month with the visit of Tranmere Rovers. Never noted for being our favourite opponents, things were looking decidedly dodgy when they equalised early in the second half and were looking like the side most likely to go on and win. There followed a bizarre couple of minutes in which two Tranmere players received their marching orders and suddenly we were in the ascendancy. We didn`t take them apart and struggled to break the 9 men down but we did get the crucial breakthrough and three points. Ugly win, pole position!
Huddersfield away came next and would the caretaker/new manager syndrome put the skids under our charge? Nope, a 2-0 win in front of a huge noisy away following (I`m absolutely convinced there were more than 2,400 there) and a welcome to Joe Hart in goal - more of him later. Another ugly win, still in pole position!
Northampton were the visitors to a sun drenched Bloomfield Road a week later and they had the temerity to deservedly be 1-0 up at half time. Obviously it just made us angry as we swept them away and smashed four goals past them after the break. A Jekyll and Hyde win, try getting us out of pole position!
Relegation threatened Cheltenham was then the venue for the Tangerine Machine and despite coming under serious second half pressure we weathered the storm and killed them off just five minutes from the end - a classic away performance. Ugly win, nosebleed territory!
The final game in April was to be a showdown between the Champions in waiting and the form team of the division. Yet another gloriously sunny day, a full house at Bloomers and two teams with a point to prove. Despite playing an hour with ten men, it was the Mighty who played some of the best football of the season to impressively beat Scunthorpe 3-1. A great win and pole position assured as a result of 18 points out of 18 this month.
Looking forward to May we have one remaining fixture - Swansea City away. If we win and Forest and Bristol drop points we go up automatically. I`m not going to even think about it - May`s review will take care of that! All I will say is that to be in the situation we are is nothing short of fantastic and all the credit in the world must go to the players, management and yes, the board for this achievement. Had they lost their nerve back in October when I and many others were calling for Larry`s head, the season may have been a totally different story...
We have continued to win and rise to this unimagined position despite a series of injuries to key players. In the absence of Ben Burgess and Scott Vernon up front, Keigan Parker and Andy Morrell have run themselves into the ground for the team; Claus 'Santa` Jorgensen has filled in alongside Gnasher in the middle in place of Foxy and has weighed in with a couple of important goals; Wes has weaved his magic and Brandon is like an annoying wasp, buzzing around, impossible to lose and with a sting that can hurt; perhaps most significantly though has been Larry`s ability to bring in a 'keeper on emergency loan - and what a 'keeper! Joe Hart is only young but commands his box with authority. He has the same kind of presence that the likes of Schmeichel, Shilton and Seaman had. He looks bigger than he is and has great agility. Combined with a back four that is looking very solid (Ian Evatt gets special plaudits here) it is no wonder we are hard to beat.
Fingers crossed for the May review!