7th February 09
Tomorrow's game against Doncaster Rovers will be a welcome "home" to 2 of the Seasiders' former favourites. Richie Wellens of Rovers and of course, 8 years after his move away from the coast, Brett Ormerod.
Brett made his comeback against Crystal Palace this past weekend and received a hero's welcome from the 600+ travelling fans that made it to the capital, while the last time we saw Wellens at Bloomfield Road, he was on the losing side with Oldham Athletic.
Blackpool Caretaker Manager, Tony Parkes, on the current management situation going into Saturday's game;
'Everybody knows pretty well what has been said and I'd like to move on and speak about football issues. At the moment we are still in charge for tomorrow's game with Doncaster and we aren't looking any further than that.'
'If you win, you probably look a bit further; if you lose, you don't look too much further!'
overs' boss Sean O'Driscoll
'After the Villa game a TV interviewer said we don't play like a side in bottom half of Championship. I told him that I'd been telling interviewers that all season. Our general play has been excellent lately and I thought we played very well again at Villa, always positive.'
'We've got to make sure we maintain our form. That was our first loss of 2009 and if you'd told me that our first loss of 2009 would be in February in front of 24,000 at Villa Park, I would have bitten your hand off.'
Blackpool Team News:
Rob Edwards and Stephen Crainey have trained in some part this week, but it is unknown whether they will be able to shake off the injuries which kept them out of action at the weekend.
Jermaine Wright is also continuing his comeback and could have an outside chance of being in contention for the game from the subs bench. New signing Francesco Carratta has been impressing in training but is probably 'a few weeks off' making the first team.
Another new signing, highly rated Charlie Adam, could force his way into the starting line-up but one almost certainly expects him to be in the 16 - along with Paul Marshall who was unfortunate to see his debut ended after only 3 minutes last weekend due to Paul Rachubka's dismissal.
Matty Gilks will deputise in goal in the absence of Rachubka as he tries to oust the former Huddersfield and Manchester United 'Keeper from the No.1 spot in the side.
Ormerod should take a place on the bench, with the side likely to be the same as last weekend - depending on the aforementioned injuries to Stephen Crainey and Captain Rob Edwards - and whether Charlie Adam will be thrown right into the mix.
If Tony Parkes decides to go with a back-up 'Keeper on the bench, then expect young Mark Halstead to be involved.
Player to watch: Charlie Adam
Another loan signing taking the 'Player To Watch' title this week, but I think that's justified.
The Gers midfielder has SPL, UEFA Cup and Champions League experience under his belt and should add some much needed quality and bite in the centre of midfield which has been lacking.
He stated in the Gazette after signing that he wants to leave the club in a higher position than when he arrived. Lets hope his football is as good as his PR skills!
Doncaster Rovers Team News:
O'Driscoll could hand new signing Dean Shiels (signed from Hibernian) a debut in attack, but Steve Brooker - who scored for former club Bristol City against us earlier on in the season - isn't match-fit so could miss out on a place on the bench.
Brian Stock is a slight doubt for the game, but James Hayter and Sean McDaid will both definitely miss the game with their respective injuries.
Player to watch: Richie Wellens
Certain 'Pool fans regularly cry for a return of Wellens in the transfer window. It seems the main argument for bringing Wellens back to the club is his eye for a pin-point pass to the front-men. Something that he would regularly pull off for Brett Ormerod of course, when they were both at the club at the turn of the Millennium.
The likes of David Fox, Charlie Adam, Paul Marshall or whoever is paired in the centre of the 'Pool midfield tomorrow will have to cut off the supply of the ball into Wellens' feet to prevent any killer balls through to the Rovers front-men.
Match Facts & Stats
In the reverse of the fixture previously this season, the two sides ended up playing out a 0-0 stalemate at the Keepmoat Stadium.
Prior to this season, the last time the clubs met was in the Promotion-winning season of 06/07 when Blackpool came out on top in a 3-1 victory at Bloomfield Road - Scott Vernon on the mark twice for the Seasiders, with Shaun Barker scoring late in the day too, before Paul Heffernan (likely to be starting up front tomorrow) grabbing a last-minute consolation goal.
Ironically, the reverse of that fixture was also a 0-0 draw back in Doncaster.
Blackpool currently lie in 15th place in The Championship following victory at Crystal Palace with 37 points.
Sean O'Driscoll's side have hit a good bit of form since beating Nottingham Forest 4-2 on Boxing Day, but they are only 1 point off the drop-zone and are therefore 6 adrift of the Seasiders going into the game tomorrow.
Mr. A. Taylor
Blackpool 2-1 Doncaster Rovers
vs Ipswich (A). Sat 14th February, 3pm.