It’s been a funny week. It’s gone so quickly, when I expected it to drag, and bizarrely there hasn’t actually been that much to talk about – other than the clamour for tickets.
The day is here though, with the Seasiders taking on Billy Davies’ Nottingham Forest side in the first leg of the playoff semi final at Bloomfield Road.
Incredibly, there are still tickets available for the game tomorrow – 500 as of Friday morning. Which once again makes a mockery of the queues around the block outside the ground all week long.
*Warning: the following paragraph contains sentences of a realistic nature*
Perhaps this is because ‘Pool have had their cup final (or possibly even cup finals…) already. Last Sunday, and yes, even the Saturday before that, was do or die. It looked to have taken a lot out of the players and fans. Let’s just hope that those games are now forgotten about, because if there’s any hangover we’ll sadly throw away the best opportunity the club has had in four decades.
Hopefully the goody bags seen under ever seat for the Bristol City fixture are now a thing of the distant past. That wasn’t Bloomfield Road. Although loud, it wasn’t fierce or intimidating and Bristol City looked to be enjoying their football.
We want drum banging, fists flying and scarves swirling.
If that atmosphere is created, ‘Pool have a fantastic chance. If the game is treated like last week’s or Newcastle away, we can kiss Wembley goodbye.
Brett Ormerod, speaking to the Gazette, on Forest and the fans: ‘The fact we’ve done the double over them makes no difference at all.
‘I know that better than most because I remember playing for Blackpool in the 2000-01 season when we got beat off Hartlepool twice in the regular season and then had to play them in the play-offs.
‘We battered them both games, so it shows that what has already gone means nothing
‘It is a clean slate now and it is all about the next 180 minutes of football. We just have to give it our best shot and hopefully that will be good enough.’
‘The atmosphere was probably the best I have ever seen at Bloomfield Road, even from my first spell at the club.
‘It is a completely different stadium from when I first signed mind. It has taken it’s time coming, as I’ve said before.
‘But what a fantastic place it is now. To have three sides full and bouncing with supporters was terrific to see.
‘I think you could see what it means to the fan, as well as the players, the manager and everybody throughout the club.
‘I’m sure the backing will be just as good tomorrow and that can only help.’
Forest defender Luke Chambers: ‘It is a massive chance. It is a golden carrot dangling there for us and we are going to try to grab it with both hands,’ said Chambers. ‘I am as sure as hell that none of the boys in the dressing room will be resting on their laurels.
‘It is do or die really. It is a massive, massive opportunity.
‘But everyone will fight tooth and nail to get there now, trust me. We all want to get into the Premiership.
‘It is about strength of character; about having a good mentality. But we have that in abundance in the dressing room.’
Blackpool Team News:
DJ Campbell is the major concern ahead of the game, and he’s currently nursing an arm injury sustained doing an overhead kick on Sunday.
There are rumours that Ian Holloway looks set to start a pacer winger in the place of Gary Taylor-Fletcher for the home leg.
The Seasiders are without the obvious: McPhee, Nardiello, Coid and co.
There has been no further word on Hameur Bouazza, so it’s assumed he will miss out again.
Player to watch: Charlie Adam
Fresh from winning the Vital Player of the Year, this is a crucial game for Charlie.
His performance against Bristol City was widely criticised, despite the midfielder having a brilliant season.
So he perhaps needs to prove to the watching millions that he’s capable of performing in the truly big games.
Nottingham Forest Team News:
Former Preston captain Paul McKenna could make the bench after a long lay-off, which was thought to have put him out for the season.
With Forest’s place in the playoffs settled for a few weeks, they’ve been resting players but will play their strongest 11 (obviously!) tomorrow. Which means a recall for Lee Camp in goal.
Player to watch: Lee Camp
Regarded as the best goalkeeper in the division by many, Camp has had a steady campaign for Forest between the sticks.
Fans have constantly called for him to be called up to the England squad. Ok, so a bit premature maybe, but Camp could be the difference between a Blackpool first leg lead or not.
Match Facts & Stats
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Tuesday May 11
Nottingham Forest (A)