In the midst of talk of a League Cup defeat, Matt Phillips, Stephen Dobbie, Alberto Noguera and the distinct lack of a striker, Blackpool begin the new Championship season away at Millwall on Saturday. All the transfer talk – along with frankly needless debate surrounding formation and one particular right back – leading up to August 18th has made the run-up typically frantic.
Frantic yes, but this pre-season had lacked the disarray (sadly, from a website point of view) Pool supporters have come accustom to. There has been little black Range Rover spotting outside Bloomfield Road and even less credence given to Twitter feeds or rumour websites; it has been nice. But all the while slightly boring – even though it is starting to hot up slightly with conjecture, lies, lies and damned lies.
So for the 1,000 or so tangerines heading down to the Den, the football cannot come soon enough.
There are many unanswered questions. Will Phillips stay put? Will his namesake Kevin be burdened with the entirety of goalscoring duties? Will Karl realise that the club chequebook is down the back of a sofa in Rowley’s? All fair. All to be answered in the next 15 days. Hold tight.
In years to come, it might just be that cult hero-style t-shirts are made up of Angel Martinez. The midfielder has quickly become a firm favourite by the seaside, and he told the Gazette that he wants to repay the faith in him:
‘When [I] first arrived I didn’t understand anyone, didn’t speak the language and didn’t know anyone.
‘I knew nothing about England or Blackpool. This summer I`ve come back relaxed, chilled-out, I know the people and the place, and it’s brilliant. I’m enjoying everything about playing for Blackpool and I can’t wait for the season to start.’
‘Thank you to the people of Blackpool for making me so welcome,’ he said. ‘They are all really friendly with me and my family, and it’s brilliant. In Spain people always think English people are cold, but everyone here is so funny and friendly.
‘I hope I can repay them with victories and good performances on the pitch. I don’t want more play-offs – I want to go up.’
Meanwhile, Millwall manager Kenny Jackett says he is looking to see how far his side has come against the Seasiders:
‘Blackpool were play-off finalists last year and they are a very good team,’ said Jackett. ‘I thought they were very unlucky to lose the final, they played very well on the day.
‘It will be a very good test for us.’
Millwall Team News:
Their team against Crawley Town last week:
Millwall: M. Taylor, Smith, Malone, Ward, Lowry, Feeney (Shittu, 60mins), Abdou, Trotter, Henderson, C. Taylor (Batt, 60mins), Henry (Wright, 108mins). Subs not used: Mildenhall, Dunne, Racon, Marquis.
Player to watch: Chris Taylor
A several-time Blackpool target, Chris Taylor has finally left Oldham Athletic and opted for Millwall. The winger, who was in danger of stagnating at Boundary Park, has the guile and crossing ability to unnerve Neal Eardley.
Blackpool Team News:
Kevin Phillips won’t be fit so Gary Taylor-Fletcher is likely to lead the line.
The back five is fairly straightforward, but it is anybody’s guess as to who Holloway will play in the middle three. Martinez, Barry Ferguson, Ludo Sylvestre, Elliot Grandin, Noguera, Gomes and Scott Robertson are all vying for a spot.
Player to watch: Neal Eardley
Before a league ball has even been kicked, Eardley is attracting unwanted attention online.
His lacklustre display against Morecambe was par for the course last Sunday and little should be looked into that. However, he’ll be after a solid start.
Predict the game in our Matchday Forum.
Blackpool v Leeds United
Tuesday August 21