Writer: Eamonn Moore
Date:Saturday January 1 2011
City of Manchester Stadium
Saturday 1st January 2011
If you want a statement of how brilliant 2010 was for Blackpool FC, this is it: it is the 1st of January 2011, and in a few short hours we're playing the richest team in world football (in the shape of Manchester City) in a league game. Not only that though, but we go into the game sat 8th in the Premier League. Remarkable eh?
We can only hope that 2011 treats us half as well as 2010 did, but arguably there's no tougher place for the year to begin than with a trip to Eastlands.
City lie second in the Premier League and demolished Aston Villa last time out. That said, Villa are rubbish and we know that we are more than a match for our hosts this afternoon after our performance against them earlier in the season at Bloomfield Road.
Alright, so the result (and luck) went against us that day, but as our recent results at Stoke and Sunderland show, we're in the middle of a real hot streak of the stuff at the moment... a little bit more today certainly wouldn't go amiss.
Happy New Year to all of our readers.
'Pool manager Ian Holloway wants revenge against Man City:
'I want some revenge if we can possibly be good enough to get it.
'I think Man City have improved massively in the period since they played us and that they are going from strength to strength, but we are going to go to their ground and I want to see if we can beat them this time.
'I won't be going there to shut up shop or say 'goodness me, they are fantastic'.
'We are going to try to attack them, so hopefully it will be a good game.'
Ollie also says that he wouldn't swap jobs with City boss Roberto Mancini for all the money in the world:
'It's quite obscene at times, isn't it? Trying to keep all of (the players) happy? I wouldn't want it.
'I'd rather do what we're doing. It would be nice to have that sort of wage budget to a point, but it causes all sorts of hassle.
'I'd rather be where we are and I am delighted with it. I wouldn't want the pressure that (Mancini) has got.'
City captain Carlos Tevez is expected to return to the side after sitting out the win against Villa with a tight hamstring.
City also have the option of recalling the likes of Kolo Toure, Jerome Boateng, Aleksandar Kolorov and James Milner.
Only Tevez and super-sub David Silva really turned up at Bloomfield Road earlier in the season, and presuming that Tevez returns to the side this afternoon, City will be looking for him to be the spark behind another home victory.
He might not be 100% happy at City (but then, who is?!), but the Argentine certainly presents a big threat to the Seasiders.
Captain Charlie Adam is expected to be recalled after finally serving his one match ban for picking up five yellow cards.
Goalkeeper Paul Rachubka may well make the bench, replacing Mark Halstead. The American stopper was not registered in 'Pool's initial Premier League squad due to injury, but as of midnight could be added to the 25.
Elliot Grandin misses the game however with a hamstring injury sustained against Sunderland.
Marlon Harewood is back in training but Ollie does not want to rush him back to action. French midfielder Malaury Martin is also back on the training ground, but is some way short of match fitness.
Lewis Almond also misses out having joined Barrow on loan, whilst the availability of David Carney after his call-up to the Australia squad for this month's Asia Cup.
Chris Basham, Billy Clarke and Matt Gilks are all long term absentees.
Captain Marvel returns to the side, and he'll not only be looking for revenge against City as well and looking to make up for lost time over the festive period, but he'll also be determined to set his own benchmark for 2011 with a big performance in the centre of the park for the Seasiders.
Undoubtedly one of the stars of 2010, the Seasiders need Charlie to come good in 2011 too.
The Seasiders head into the game with five times as many wins on the road this season in the league than leaders Manchester United (five plays one).
However, City are unbeaten at home in nine against the Seasiders, winning the last six.
Blackpool haven't won in the league away at City since May 1963.
City have only lost one of their last ten games, and are unbeaten in five league matches on New Year's Day.
However, City are yet to register a win this season when falling behind in a game.
Carlos Tevez was the league's top scorer in 2010 with 26 goals, whilst goalkeeper Joe Hart (bound to get a good reception from the 'Pool fans following his loan spell at the club in 2006/7) is set to make his 200th career appearance.
Blackpool are unbeaten in six, and have only lost one in eight (v Aston Villa, where we fielded our 'reserves').
The Seasiders have picked up 17 of their 25 points on the road this season; only City and Arsenal have fared better on their travels.
Only one club in Premier League history has been in the top eight on New Year's Day and gone on to be relegated that season - Norwich in 1995 (they were 7th).
The Seasiders are unbeaten this season when they score first - seven wins and two draws.
Blackpool v Birmingham
Barclays Premier League
Tuesday 4th January 2011
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Date:Saturday January 1 2011
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