After our goalless draw against Preston at the weekend, some semblance of confidence will have returned to the Blackpool squad ahead of this evening’s crunch clash against playoff rivals Middlesbrough.
Ian Holloway’s men will be looking to complete the double over the Boro after beating them 3-0 at the Riverside. A repeat of that scoreline would be a treat, but if truth be known, any kind of win would do tonight as we look to keep in touch with the top six.
We’ve not won in five, whilst the Boro have won two on the spin and look like making a late push for the playoffs. This is a big game, make no bones about it.
Blackpool assistant manager Steve Thompson on the possibility of Hamuer Bouazza making a return to the side tonight:
‘He trained with us the last couple of days and has managed to do everything that everybody else has done.
‘He has come through training unscathed and we have just got to see if he has any reaction with it.
”It’s a boost because he brings something different to the squad that other players don’t.
‘He can play in those wide positions because he is used to it and he’s a great asset to us.’
Blackpool Team News:
Charlie Adam returns from suspension and is expected to go straight into the starting XI.
As stated above, Hamuer Bouazza could make a return to the side, as could Barry Bannan and Neal Eardley depending on the status of their injuries.
Ishmel could also be set for a return, but the likes of Steve McPhee and Daniel Nardiello are still out through injury.
Player to watch: Charlie Adam
Two games off because of suspension, Charlie returns tonight and he should be fresh and ready to help the Seasiders relaunch their playoffs bid. A big game for a big player.
Middlesbrough Team News:
Gary O’Neil and Emanuel Pogatetz could return, but Chris Killen could miss out.
Player to watch: Scott McDonald
The Aussie striker is yet to score for the Boro since his move from Celtic I believe, but north of the border he scored goals for fun.
His main asset is pace, and we all know how our defence have struggled with pace in recent times.
Match Facts & Stats
Blackpool have failed to score in just five league games all season: two of them being in the last two games.
Middlesbrough have not won three in a row since August.
If we win tonight, it will be our first ever league double over the Boro.
We’ve only won one of our last ten and have conceded five goals in the opening five minutes of matches this season – more than anyone else in the division.
We’ve also had more attempts on goal (447) and hit the woodwork (18) more times than anyone else in the division.
If Ben Burgess starts, it’ll be the 250th league start of his career.
Boro have not kept a clean sheet in nine successive away games.
Blackpool v Reading
Saturday 20th February
3pm @ Bloomfield Road