Writer: Eamonn Moore
Date:Friday December 2 2011
Saturday 3rd December
After the midweek disappointment against Leicester, Blackpool look to bounce back and begin the Christmas season in winning fashion tomorrow against an underrated Reading side.
Brian McDermott has done a superb job at the Madjeski, and the Royals go into tomorrow's game just behind Ian Holloway's side.
The Championship table is as tight as ever; a few wins over the festive period would really see us move into the promotion shake-up, but a few defeats would see us enter 2012 on a downer.
It's been a difficult week for the Seasiders; Jonjo Shelvey has been recalled by Liverpool following a season-ending injury to Lucas, whilst it was announced this evening that Keith Southern has been sidelined after having a tumour removed from one of his testicles. Needless to say that Vital send Keith our best wishes and hope that he has a speedy recovery.
Despite that though, 'Pool manager Ian Holloway is very buoyant going into the festive period - believing his current side to be capable of emulating 2010's heroes:
'We are learning that we are a pretty good team. Others are paying us respect by the way they line-up against us and that didn't happen when I first took over. Most opposition managers saw Blackpool as an easy touch almost.
'We have to try and keep evolving. We used to have a very good group of players last year, now we've got a new group who wants to build a reputation for themselves and I think it is coming.
'I think we can look forward to every game this season, and think we have a half-decent chance of winning. That is different to when I first took over.
'Gradually I believe that attitude among the players that we had during the promotion season - the way they'd shrug off going a goal down and just hit back by scoring - will start to come. It has already started. I'm seeing it, and that's all I've wanted since the start of the season.
'The trick now is to keep it going.'
'Pool are stretched at the back; Alex Baptiste is expecting to miss out on tomorrow with a hamstring injury, whilst Craig Cathcart faces a late fitness test. If both miss out, expect Chris Basham to partner Ian Evatt at centre half with Matt Hill coming onto the bench.
Jonjo's departure creates a quandary in both midfield and attack. There are several options for Ollie to pick from, but don't be too surprised to see Angel get the nod.
The livewire striker has spoken today about his desire to break his goalscoring duck at Bloomfield Road.
Hal Robson-Kanu is expected to start, but Jobi McAnuff is suspended.
One of the best wingers in the league. If our full backs bomb on, expect him to exploit the space they leave.
All 34 previous matches between these clubs have been in the league; Blackpool have won 10, Reading 14, with 10 drawn.
Their 7-0 trouncing of the Royals in November 1928, is a club record margin of victory for Blackpool.
The Seasiders are one goal shy of 100 in home matches under Ian Holloway (all comps).
Their six stoppage-time goals is still unequalled in this season's Championship.
The Royals have avoided defeat in 11 of the last 13 Championship matches, which has seen them rise from one off the foot to ninth spot.
Southampton on Sky next Saturday lunchtime.
Date:Friday December 2 2011
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