‘Pool face a tough task on Monday evening in front of the Sky cameras as Championship front-runners Wolverhampton Wanderers make the trip up north to the Seaside.
Wolves are coming off the back of a scrappy victory over Sheffield United, while manager-less Blackpool drew with United’s fierce rivals Sheffield Wednesday on Boxing Day, 1-1.
Blackpool Team News:
After passing a late fitness test prior to the Boxing Day game, Rob Edwards could once again retain his centre back position at Alex Baptiste’s expense, however he did leave Hillsbrough with a limp after aggravating the injury – AJB will be on stand-by if he doesn’t make it. Gary Taylor-Fletcher could continue on the right hand side in the place of Adam Hammill, who had to settle for a place on the bench on Friday afternoon.
Loan stars Alan Gow and Liam Dickinson look set to lead the line, while Steven Kabba may miss out on the squad once again as Matty Gilks takes up a place on the bench – something which former manager Simon Grayson used to overlook, in preference to having more out-field options available for selection.
Lee Hendrie is also available once more following his suspension after getting sent off against Reading.
Player to watch: Alan Gow
Having scored against Swansea and on Friday against Sheffield Wednesday – in what many have described as his best performance in a ‘Pool shirt – he appears to be our best chance at getting a goal against the league leaders.
Whether he will sign (or indeed, has already?) on a permanent basis remains to be seen.
Wolves Team News:
Joe Martin will breathe a sigh of relief as Michael Kightly misses the game through suspension, however the defence as a whole will have to cope with the combined attacking force of Sylvan Ebanks-Blake and Chris Iwelumo – with 27 goals between them so far!
Steve Ward could miss the game if he fails to overcome the virus that resulted in his substitution on Boxing Day – Michael Mancienne or Matt Hill are lined up as his replacement should he not make it.
Player to watch: Sylvan Ebanks-Blake
Luckily, there’s no Freddy Eastwood for us to contend with…however, there is Sylvan Ebanks-Blake.
The former Plymouth striker finds himself in the top 5 goalscorers for the 2nd season in a row, with 14 to his name so far.
His partnership with Iwelumo will be a tough one to break down.
Match Facts & Stats
Last time the teams met, ‘Pool were the visitors and came away from Molineux with a 2-0 defeat. Iwelumo got both of the goals that day.
Wolves lead the way in the history of the league fixture – 44 wins to our 32 with 17 draws.
I can’t see beyond the league leaders for this one. I’ve predicted another 2-0 deficit in the predictions thread, so I’ll have to stand by that, unfortunately.
Next up will be a chance for fringe players to get a few minutes – the FA Cup 3rd Round when ‘Pool make the trip to Torquay on Saturday 3rd January.