Two of the most out-of-form teams in the league go head-to-head under the Adams Park floodlights on Tuesday. We know all about our recent slump, but what’s been going wrong at Blackpool? Chris Riedel unpeels the Tangerines’ season since we last met in October.
Blackpool are on a rotten run of form at the moment. What are the main factors behind that and how can you turn the tide? Good question. Many of the fans are blaming manager Simon Grayson for the current form. We went through a brilliant patch of form for a few games where we changed formation and brought in a young left winger called Callum McDonald who seemed to spring us into life and give us a bit of balance. However, out of the blue, he dropped McDonald to the bench, switched formation and we have reverted back to bland football which is slow and turgid.
Grayson seems to be blaming the players for not expressing themselves and refuses to accept any of the responsibility. To be fair to him, he still has many players that he didn’t sign and is slowly shipping them out and replacing them with his own.
To get out of this rut, most fans agree we need to return to playing 3-5-2. And we have signed (what look on paper) some good players Hopefully, these gel quickly and we can kick on for the last three months of the season.
You’ve made a few moves in the January transfer window, with Gary Madine the most notable arrival – what have you made of the signings so far and what more do you need/do you think you’ll do any more business? Gary Madine has excited the fans. He played a role in helping Sheffield Utd up to the Premier League and Cardiff paid £6 million for him not that long ago, so to grab him on a free seems a bit of coup. But we have learnt with at Blackpool that it’s usually the players we haven’t heard of that do better than the players who we have heard of. One such player is Jordan Thorniley from Sheffield Wednesday, a player who, to be honest, I hadn’t heard about. Wednesday fans were not happy he was allowed to leave them, so I’m pinning my hopes on him to tighten us up at centre-half.
In terms of what we need to sign, we need a creative/attacking midfielder who can open up a defence with a pass. We also need a goal poacher up front who can feed off either Madine or fellow target man Armand Gnanduillet as at the minute, we are relying on goals from the big men from crosses or set-pieces.
How are fans’ hopes/expectations for the season different now compared to in the summer? Some fans believe that unless we sack Grayson, the season is a write-off. I still think if it clicks then we could make the play-offs, but it needs to click quickly! The problem at Blackpool is a lot of the younger fans aged between 14 and 25 have only known us in the Championship and that year in the Prem.
This may sound like I’m having a dig at them, but their expectations are very high and many won’t have seen us in League One before. Their discontent is very visible on social media. It isn’t all younger fans, but I speak to a lot of fans my age and above and they seem to accept that this season is very much a transitional season. I think the older fans have become accustomed to watching poor Blackpool teams before 2007 and so are just enjoying being back watching the team post-Oystons.
Almost a year on from the ousting of the Oystons, just how much better a place is Blackpool as a club? The club is a completely different kettle of fish since the Oystons left. The pitch has had money spent on it; we have a properly trained groundsman, a chief executive and scouts; the fans’ suggestions are taken on board; there’s decent club merchandise and new club shop; we’ve got new pies, new beer, events for young fans to meet players, training open days, a thriving community trust, club crests outside the ground, fans’ flags in the stands… Genuinely, the list could go on.
You may look at that list and think these are just normal things you should expect at a football club, but trust me, these are all a novelty and show just some of the small steps Simon Sadler (new owner) has taken to improve the club.
Last of all, with both sides on poor runs of late, how do you see the game going? Feel free to make a score prediction. Having looked at both our form recently. I’m going for another draw – 1-1. We don’t lose that many away but don’t win many either!
Header image by Dan Clark
Simon Grayson photo via Wikimedia Commons. Used under license.