After eight months of hard graft and fantastic football, we’re now beginning to get down to the nitty gritty of the 2009/10 campaign – will the Seasiders make a late surge into the top six?
They have to beat – or at least match Swansea’s result at home to Barnsley – Nottingham Forest in front of a packed Bloomfield Road in (probably) baking hot sunshine.
One defeat could spell the end of the dream of making the playoffs for Ian Holloway and his team, who’ve been underdogs all season and seem to thrive under that tag.
But now the talk in the media is that ‘Pool are the team to squeeze into that last spot – which would extend their season for another two games at least.
Whether they’ll relish the pressure is something we’ll find out in the next eight days.
But whilst Nottingham Forest are definitely in the playoffs, Billy Davies says he will give plenty of his favoured players a rest to allow some of the fringe performers to show what they can do.
This could prove to come at a brilliant time for ‘Pool, who might face a much changed Forest team, and one which isn’t as threatening.
Billy Davies praises the Seasiders, and notable the strikers: ‘I think they have been a surprise package. Ian has done a great job at Blackpool.
‘You can go through their squad and they’ve got people like Billy Clarke, Hameur Bouazza, Jason Euell, Ben Burgess, DJ Campbell, Stephen Dobbie and Brett Ormerod – strikers with great experience.’
Ollie bigs up the fixture: ‘I think this is probably the most important game these lads will have ever played in because we could drop five points behind the top six and down to eighth in the table.
‘This game is the only thing that matters in my life at this precise moment and I can’t give you any more commitment than that. I know that my players are feeling exactly the same. We’re playing catch-up in the league table and we are going to run as fast as we can to see if we can do it.
‘We need the supporters to help us, like they have all season. Don’t start to get carried away and don’t think we’re a really good side – we have to earn that right.’
Blackpool Team News:
Blackpool will assess the fitness of Stephen Crainey ahead of the game after it was said he has runners knee – a ligament injury.
Despite a dip in form, it’s expected that Matt Gilks will keep his place between the sticks, whilst Seamus Coleman will continue at right back after extending his loan deal.
It’s anyone’s guess who will play in the front three, with Brett Ormerod pushing for a start.
Player to watch: Charlie Adam
The central midfielder was touted for a move to the City Ground in January and it was rumoured Davies made a bid for the former Rangers man.
He’ll be wanting to show what he can do and to point out what the promotion chasers are missing!
Nottingham Forest Team News:
Former Preston captain Paul McKenna is out for the season.
Dele Adebola and Luke Chambers are hoping to be fit for the game, whilst Lee Camp could be given a rest in goal.
Goalkeeper Paul Smith, midfielder Lewis McGugan and strikers Gareth McLeary and Joe Garner are also hoping for starts.
Player to watch: Nathan Tyson
The striker, who operates out wide at present, is pacey and always seems to cause ‘Pool problems.
He has an eye for goal and a trick or two and could be a tough prospect for the home defence.
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Saturday April 24