Blackpool can guarentee themselves a place in the playoffs with victory over local rivals Burnley tomorrow.
Should the Seasiders fail to win, they could still confirm their place in the top six should Middlesbrough fail to beat Southampton in Sky’s evening game.
Then again, Blackpool never do things the easy way…
If ‘Pool do secure their playoff berth tomorrow though, there will still be plenty to play for on the final day of the season against Millwall, as ourselves, Birmingham and Cardiff will be battling it out for 4th place, thus guarenteeing them the home leg in the second leg of the playoff semi finals.
‘Pool manager Ian Holloway has laid down the gauntlet to his team, urging them to seal their place in the top six with a win on derby day:
‘It is absolutely great to know we get into the play-offs if we beat Burnley.
‘But in all honestly I was never thinking about getting caught – my only concern has been to catch those above us.
‘These lads have been quite miraculous but we haven’t done it yet, so let’s get on with the weekend.
‘We have taken another step by beating Leeds. We now need to take the next one.
‘The lads are on the march. We’ve done it before, can we do it again?’
Burnley are determined to pour cold water over the Seasiders’ celebrations though, as they look to equal a club record for eleven away wins in a league season.
Assistant manager Jason Tindall said:
‘With such a young group of players, there’s less expectation on their shoulders away from home.
‘They can relax a little bit more and play with a little more freedom, without the added pressure of playing at home.
‘Our away performances have been a lot more fluent and the players have been able to express themselves more.
‘It’s a shame we’ve been inconsistent at home, but thankfully our away form’s been good and we’ve got a lot of points on the road. It would be nice to achieve the record.’
Blackpool Team News:
Stephen Dobbie is fit again after recovering from the stiff back that ruled him out of the Leeds game, whilst Kevin Phillips has returned to training after his hip injury and is expected to be named on the bench.
Keith Southern serves the final game of his three match ban, whilst Craig Cathcart is a doubt.
Player to watch: Barry Ferguson
It’s squeaky bum time, therefore it’s time for our captain to really step up to plate and demonstrate every ounce of his experience.
The Scot often plays within himself, but if the Seasiders are to dominate games as they can, he needs to be firing on all cylinders and dominate the middle of the park, especially in what could be a fiery local derby.
Burnley Team News:
Young striker Danny Ings is tipped to start with both Jay Rodriguez and Martin Paterson struggling with injuries.
Player to watch: Charlie Austin
Blackpool’s defence has been much tighter than usual of late, but the freescoring Austin will ensure that our back four have to work hard all afternoon to keep another clean sheet.
Match Facts & Stats
This is the 125th competitive meeting. Burnley lead by 56 wins to 37, with 31 drawn.
The Clarets are looking for a fourth consecutive Championship victory over Blackpool.
The Seasiders’ only home win against Burnley in 15 years was a 3-0 triumph in January 2008.
‘Pool are unbeaten in five.
Ian Holloway’s side and Ipswich are the only clubs to have scored in every home match in this division in 2012.
‘Pool have won twelve home league games this season – only Reading and Southampton have won more.
Burnley are unbeaten in four games (W2, D2), and could draw three in a row for the first time this season.
Burnley have won eleven away league games in a season on four previous occasions – 1992, 1973, 1961 and 1947.
Millwall away next Saturday.