by Paddy Feeney
Blackpool welcome the league leaders in the Saturday evening kickoff in what is sure to be an entertaining game at Bloomfield Road. Having fallen out of form in recent weeks, the Seasiders will be looking to kick on for a top six place, but face the side that has been one of the front runners since the season began as the Saints look to seal a return to the big time.
In the reverse fixture, the Sky cameras came close to witnessing an upset, as Blackpool became the first team to leave St Mary’s Stadium with any points, but Chris basham and Callum McManaman goals were not enough for three points, as Rickie Lambert completed a brace with a last minute goal to save second choice keeper Bartosz Bialkowski’s blushes after his howler had gifted the lead to the visitors.
The Championship’s second top scorer, Blackpool’s Kevin Phillips, believes that scoring the goals to take Blackpool back to the Premier League would rank among his greatest achievements.
The former Sunderland, Southampton and England striker, who is still the only Englishman to win the European Golden Boot, said ‘It would be fantastic to help Blackpool back to the Premier League. You are hereSport>Football>Blackpool FC
Sponsored byKevin Phillips has one goal on his mind
By Steve Canavan
Published on Wednesday 28 March 2012 16:27
KEVIN Phillips has declared taking Blackpool to the Premier League would rank alongside any of his achievements in football.
The frontman played in the top flight for more than a decade, represented his country and is the only Englishman to have won the European Golden Boot.
But there is no doubting the pleasure he would get from helping the Seasiders back to the big time.
Phillips said: “It would be fantastic to help Blackpool back to the Premier League. I helped Birmingham, West Brom and Sunderland get back there, so to make it four teams would be fantastic – and it would be even more sweeter knowing there aren`t too many more years left for myself.
‘There is still a lot of work to do but it really would mean everything to me. I would love to see this club go up. It is always important to try to bounce back straight away after relegation. We are in a good position, and although we have some tough games coming up, it is do-able.’
Southampton defender Jose Fonte knows that the league leaders will have their hands full on their visit to Bloomfield Road, with Blackpool’s attacking abilities likely to cause his side problems.
The Portugese centre half said ‘They’re a very good team, and in the first game at St Mary’s we knew that it would be hard, but they came here and made it even harder than we thought, so it’s going to be another massive game for us and we just need to prepare ourselves as best as we can.
‘We know that offensively they are very good, and they have good players like Kevin Phillips who are very experienced and scoring a lot of goals. They have good players on the wings as well so we have to be aware that they are a force coming forward.’
Blackpool Team News:
Blackpool are missing Roman Bednar after it was confirmed that the big Czech target man is likely to miss the entire run-in with a knee injury picked up in the 3-3 draw against Leicester.
Matt Phillips and Tom Ince are both pushing for recalls having been dropped to the bench for the trip to Reading, while Stephen Dobbie is hoping to make his second full debut for the club after retruning to the club for another loan spell.
Player to watch: Kevin Phillips
With 4 goals in his last three games propelling him into second place in the Champions top scorers’ list, leaving only the visitor’s Rickie Lambert ahead of him, Phillips is in a great run of form as he prepares to take on one of his former clubs.
The veteran front man will look to use his nouse and experience to try and creat scoring opportunities for himself and his teammates, and will cause problems for the visiting defence for the full ninety minutes.
Southampton Team News:
Leading scorer Rickie Lambert has been declared fit to face his first club after recovering from a minor pelvic injury suffered against Doncaster. The powerful striker was released by then Blackpool manager Steve McMahon at the age of 18, and has since made a habit of scoring against his first employers.
Fellow striker Tadanari Lee is also back in contention having missed the last 3 games with an ankle injury, but is likely to have to settle for a place on the bench as Billy Sharp is set to partner Lambert in attack.
Player to watch: Billy Sharp
Few can boast a better record at Bloomfield Road than the former Scunthorpe and Sheffield United striker. He has already found the back of the Blackpool net this season, when he scored for Doncaster in their 2-1 defeat in October.
Match Facts & Stats
Blackpool are unbeaten in four games against Southampton, a run that dates back to November 2007, when a Stern John goal gave the Saints the points at St Mary’s Stadium.
Blackpool are the only team who have scored in every league game of 2012, but only have one clean sheet, coming in the 3-0 win over Middlesbrough.
Southampton are unbeaten in 12 games, and are looking to earn their 24th win of the season, which would be their fifth consecutive away win.
Friday 6th April, 2012