Preview: West Ham v Blackpool
October 15, 2011
Blackpool travel to London looking for their first league win in the capital since January 2009 as they take on West Ham United at the Boleyn Ground.
Ian Holloway has boosted his first team options with the capture of winger Lomana Lua Lua on a free transfer but there is no indication yet whether the 30-year-old is fit enough to be included in the 16-man squad.
And the game represents a great chance for the Seasiders to pick something up on their travels, with the Hammers struggling for points in front of their own supporters.
Sam Allardyce's team have picked up just seven points out of a possible 15 at home - including defeats to Cardiff and Ipswich.
However, their superb away form sees the recently relegated side sit in the playoffs, two points ahead of the visitors.
The fixture also gives Jonjo Shelvey his first professional opportunity to play against his boyhood club as the on-loan midfielder looks set to start in midfield alongside Barry Ferguson and Keith Southern.
Over 1,100 tickets have been sold to the away contingent and are still on sale from Bloomfield Road until 1pm on Friday.
New signing Lua Lua revealed that he had trials at a couple of other clubs before signing for Blackpool:
'It's a bit annoying that I've had to come back and prove myself over again but that's what football is like,' he said.
'I went on trial at Birmingham and I thought that things went well, but sometimes the manager has to make a decision.
'I had a few days training at Brighton as well but that wasn't comfortable for my brother (Kazenga) who was there and then I had a couple of days at Hartlepool because Mick Wadsworth is a friend of mine.
'But when the chance came at Blackpool I wanted to play at the highest level possible. I don't have anything to prove to anyone. I just want to enjoy my football and we'll see what happens.
'The manager asked me to come down to have a look at me and it was great to see his passion, it made me be determined because of how he wanted his team to play and the freedom he wants to give his players.
'Now I'm back I just want to play my part at Blackpool and use my experience from playing in other countries to try and get promoted.'
Meanwhile, Sam Allardyce is refusing to rule out a loan move for Manchester City striker Carlos Tevez, saying: 'I suppose the situation, from my point of view, is just if and when the decision is finally made regarding what's happening with Carlos at Manchester City, then perhaps my co-chairman David Sullivan might want to pursue it.
'That would be with my blessing, obviously.
'[Sullivan] was the man who talked about it with me first and if we could get him back here, based on what he did here last time and if he did love the club as much as he did, and if it was a possibility, then I think it's an outside chance.'
West Ham United Team News:
West Ham welcome back Mark Noble, Matt Taylor and Winston Reid for the fixture.
All three missed the 2-2 draw away at Crystal Palace last time out but have recovered from various knocks.
David Bentley however will not be near the matchday squad for some time after the midfield was ruled out for six months with a knee problem.
Player to watch: Kevin Nolan
Kevin Nolan will almost certainly feature heavily in the 'one to watch' column in most match previews this season.
His wealth of experience and attacking prowess from midfield is something every team in the division will fear when facing United.
The 29-year-old scored 12 goals in Newcastle's Premier League campaign last time out.
Blackpool Team News:
It's unknown whether Ollie is looking for further loan signings to bolster his squad, but there may be a need for a defender if Craig Cathcart's injury is worse than feared.
The centre half is rated as doubtful for the game which would leave the manager with two different options. He could play Neal Eardley at right back and revert Alex Baptiste to the middle. Or Holloway could partner Ian Evatt with Matt Hill, who has impressed when called upon.
Player to watch: Brett Ormerod
Saturday could see the reintroduction to the starting line up for Brett Ormerod.
The winger has been integral to the Seasiders' defensive shape when playing away from home in the past two years and it could be that he starts on the left hand side of the three.
His work rate and intelligence help Stephen Crainey out, but also see Pool retain possession well.
Match Facts & Stats
You can predict the game on our Matchday Forum - with the winner of the season getting a free subscription to Tangerine Player for 12 months.
Tuesday October 18, 2011
Doncaster Rovers (H)