The Seasiders travel to Pride Park tomorrow in search of a third win in six (or third win in twelve if you’re being negative!) against a Derby County side whose form has picked up considerably since the arrival of Nigel Clough.
The Rams have beaten Manchester United, Coventry City, Plymouth Argyle and most notably local rivals Nottingham Forest since the former Burton Albion man took the helm – with the two league victories guiding them five points clear of the drop zone and just three behind ‘Pool, with two games in hand. However, a Blackpool victory would put clear daylight between the pair, and it’s unlikely that Derby will win both games in hand.
The gap between the two sides adds extra significance to the fixture – the scene of Blackpool’s penalty shoot-out win against then Premiership Derby last season in the League Cup. ‘Pool were roared on that night by close to 1000 supporters, and close to 800 look set to make the trip this time around.
The last time the Tangerines travelled to County in the league was in 1985, and in the old Third Division at the Baseball Ground, where they overcame eventual promotion winners Derby 2-1 – one of only four victories at the Baseball ground, despite 31 meetings there. Manager Arthur Cox (recently retired coach at Newcastle United) then won the old Second Division with Derby a year later, which saw them mix it with the big guns of English football in the top tier.
The game also brings about another opportunity for Blackpool to do the double over a team this campaign, with Birmingham City becoming the first victims of this last month.
Derby manager Nigel Clough after Sunday’s defeat to Manchester United:
‘They could have put four past anybody today, Arsenal, Liverpool or Chelsea.
‘We are pleased we hung in, we kept going and didn’t get ragged or pick up any silly bookings.
We have to take this one in isolation. There’s no disgrace.’
Derby’s Miles Addison on facing ‘Pool:
‘The manager has been onto us straight away, the league is obviously important to us and the Blackpool game is big.
‘They are a good side, organised and solid and want to consolidate in this league, and they are fighting for their lives just as much as we are.
Derby County Team News:
Jay McEveley is back from suspension, and apart from Luke Varney being injured, The Rams have a fully fit squad.
McEveley isn’t expected to make a straight return to the starting line up as Jordon Stewart occupies the left back slot.
Player to watch: Chris Porter
The big striker was rumoured to be a target for Blackpool, but signed for Derby last month from Motherwell, and although is likely to begin on the substitutes bench, provides more mobility than Rob Hulse and could be a handful later on in the game.
Blackpool Team News:
Again, the team selection for Tony Parkes is an interesting one. After the credible 1-1 draw at Ipswich Town on Saturday, it is unlikely that there will be many changes, if any at all.
Matt Gilks should keep his place in goal, whilst Ian Evatt will have to bide his time on the bench whilst Baptiste and Barker continue to play well in defence.
Charlie Adam is still suspended, with a Jorgensen/Fox combination in the middle of midfield the sure-fire bet.
Player to watch: David Fox
The centre midfielder, always neat and tidy, has come in for some heavy criticsm recently from a large section of support.
However, he is currently first choice, and will be looking to add to his assist on Saturday with another contribution tomorrow.
You can predict the game in our Matchday Forum, at this link.
A referee not very well-known to Seasiders; Dean Whitestone is the man in black. He last took charge of a ‘Pool game in 2007.
Saturday 21st February 2009;