Date:Thursday April 22 2010
April 24, 2010
Last week was described as our biggest game in how many years? And in all of our squad's careers, apparently. So what for the away trip to Peterborough? It could be argued to be bigger, smaller or the same. What we do know is that we need three points.
One tiny problem: we have only ever won once at London Road.
Having said that, the last time we beat Newcastle United in a league game was back in 1970, Middlesbrough was 1986 (this season was also the first time we'd achieved a double over them) and Ipswich had a strangle hold on us since 1962 until last month.
The facts are that the Seasiders will probably never get a better chance to capitalise on a position beyond the wildest dreams of even the most confident - or perhaps deluded - local paper columnist! I really wish the club could build on this league standing and challenge next term, but in reality it probably won't happen. Not through lack of finance or effort from the board, it's just the way things work out.
So there is now two games between Blackpool and true greatness; getting into the playoffs would be a monumental achievement and who would bet us against us from there?
The first of the two crucial fixtures is away at Peterborough, who, already relegated, have nothing to play for, despite recently appointing Gary Johnson as their new manager.
In August, then manager Darren Ferguson was predicting a top half finish and the like. Such statements led him to be judged quicker than he maybe should have been and thus he moved on a few months later.
London Road has witnessed just six home wins in the Championship - less than half of 'Pool's haul at Bloomfield Road. But as we all know the Seasiders aren't the greatest travellers - losing double the amount of away games as Crystal Palace, who are perilously close to the drop zone.
All eyes will be on Bramall Lane too, with Swansea needing to slip up at Sheffield United in order for Ian Holloway's men to break the top six.
Jason Euell could be in line for a recall after two goals for the reserves in midweek. Afterwards he spoke about the boos towards him from the home support earlier in the season: 'It's football. Fans are entitled to their opinion.
'If it's not me, then it will be someone else. I honestly didn't think anything of it and just got on with things.
'The manager came out and spoke on my behalf, and for Ben Burgess too.
At the end of the day he is the guy who picks players or doesn't.
'Sometimes the minority can speak louder than the majority and you do hear it at certain places, but for me it wasn't a problem at all.
'I'm here to help the team I play with and we've always said that if one person is having a bad game then everyone else has to have a good game to get them through it.
'And while it might have been a very up and down for myself, as a whole it has been a productive season because it is about everyone trying to achieve the same thing.
'We're delighted with where we are in the league and with two games to go we have a real chance.'
Gary Johnson wants to stamp his authority on Posh, and wants George Boyd back at the club. The midfielder is currently on loan at Nottingham Forest: 'There's every chance he could return,' Johnson told BBC Radio Cambridgeshire. 'He already knows I'd like him to stay. The supporters would like him to stay. It's a shame that he's gone up there and not played too many games.'
Johnson added: 'He has a year remaining on his contract here but if he goes anywhere, I personally can't see it being Forest.'
Posh are in big trouble injury-wise at the moment. Sergio Torres, Arron Mclean and Chris Whelpdale all missed the 6-0 hammering at Reading. They could be back for Saturday but it remains unlikely.
Scott Griffiths and Exodus Geohaghon are also likely to miss the game.
On the injury front Johnson said: 'It's been an interesting couple of weeks, lets put it like that. You learn which players have big hearts and which haven't got such big hearts,' he said.
'Some have got injuries which they definitely cannot play with and some have got injuries which I think they could.'
Goalkeeper Joe Lewis - a one time Blackpool target - has ruled himself fit to play despite picking up a knock.
Key midfielder Lee Frecklington definitely won't play any part.
Midfielder Tommy Rowe is someone I've always thought to have a lot of talent when he was at Stockport County.
The youngster is used mainly on the left hand side of midfield and has a sweet left peg.
He's recently had a bit more of a run in the team and looks to have kicked on after Posh signed him for an undisclosed fee in the summer.
Charlie Adam is a major doubt for 'Pool with an injury and may only make the bench. This could mean either Barry Bannan, Gary Taylor-Fletcher or Jason Euell slotting in alongside Southern and Vaughan at the heartbeat of the Blackpool midfield.
Elsewhere, Ben Burgess is fit again and looks set to take a place in the 18, whilst Hameur Bouazza is still injured and apparently out of the country.
Brett Ormerod could start on the right side of the front three, with Billy Clarke also itching for more first team action.
The striker has hit seven goals in just 13 games for 'Pool since his loan move in February.
That's a better record than his efforts last term when he kept Tony Parkes' side in the division.
And with Ollie saying he definitely wants to keep the 28-year-old permanently, maybe it's time that DJ broke his ten-goal duck in a single season for the first time.
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Sunday May 2nd
Bristol City (H)
Date:Thursday April 22 2010
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