Blackburn v Blackpool
As my old man looked at the team listed on the scoreboard at Blackburn he said, 'it's hard to understand all that talent is in this position'. And yet, on Good Friday, the team that pasted 6 past Ipswich are indeed staring down the barrel of a relegation battle.
That possibly impacts on the psyche all round. Those same players have a hesitancy. Less fluidity, movement, creative spark and edge. Previously you could almost see the fear in defences as Blackpool swarmed forward. Not knowing who was where, difficult to pick up, impossible to contain. Yet at the moment, the team seem like chalkboard pieces, staying put, fear in the boots. This was borne out completely when, for the first time in an eternity, we went a goal up. Rather than give us the incentive, the control, it actually brought trepidation, dropping back, almost a panic. Playing so deep meant only one thing; an equaliser. And if you leave Jordan Rhodes unmarked for a cross, that's just what you'll get.
The first half itself was chess like, neither side wanting to go behind. With Blackburn having two clear cut chances, they must have being cursing themselves at half time.
Second half; far much more commitment, Blackpool pressing forward, putting Blackburn on the back foot. A goal was destined to follow. Such is the in confidence up top, it was perhaps inevitable it was scored by a centre half, but who cares McKenzie it was. Peculiar perhaps he has scored more often on his loan spell than his fellow loaned, Matt Derbyshire, who just did not seem as though he would score if he played all week. Just as McKenzie's loan has been a success, Derbyshire's has not.
Derbyshire was replaced by The Fonz - who looked for more at home and gave Blackburn something to think about.
Such a pity the players could not psychologically get what had happened. High tempo, pressure, movement = we scored. So why not continue? Suddenly the defence line retreated and we were lining up on our 6 yard box. Minutes earlier Crainey had been camped out down Blackburn's left flank.
It's hard to judge if the stilted approach is managerial tactics or fear in e players boots. My only hope is that Paul Ince is not panicking, he is going to get to safety by whatever means, then it is clean slate time. Whatever it is, personally I think it is the players themselves at the minute, it can be excruciating to watch at times.
Some realities though are clear. Matt Phillips goes into reverse far too much - just run at people and shoot! For me, I'd replace him with Grandin on Monday. Likewise Derbyshire's once bright and promising star shows no signs of sparkling. He is certainly no DJ Campbell, in fact, he is no Wes Thomas.
And so the almost pantomime of Monday. Ollie returns, it could go either way. Having just had a pasting at home from Brum, will the bounce back and charge at us, or capitulate? Heaven knows. But to pluck another from the Motty book of cliche - Monday is a 'must win' game.
Easier said than done, but if the team could ignore their position and play uninhibited, they'd be so much better off.
Who ever said following Blackpool was easy? Oh yeah, no one!
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