Date: 30th March 2006 at 10:39pm
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Today’s game against Walsall, in a word, massive! A chance to amble out of the way of our relegation threatened opponents. If we do lose, it’s looking very bleak for the remaining batch of games. Take the game as a defining moment of the season, setting the mood for the remaining fixtures. Oh and that Latvian millionaire investment might be sorted too, as I said MASSIVE!

Blackpool Team News:

With a doubt over John Murphy, that leaves us with just three fit strikers, Keigan Parker, Gareth Williams and Matt Blinkhorn. Without trying to sound too pessimistic, I fail to see where a goal could come from? Williams isn’t being played as a striker half the time, and Parker looks lost at the moment.

After having the same starting eleven for the defeats at Bradford and Oldham Grayson may be tempted to change things about, with Neil Wood’s name being thrown about in the midweek printed press the midfielder may get his chance this Saturday.

Player to watch: Peter Clarke

Well if Murphy isn’t fit Peter Clarke may be stuck upfront as emergency striker. With five league goals this season he’s the Seasiders’ fourth top scorer in the league, behind Parker, Murphy and the departed Tommy “I don’t want to be in a relegation scrap” Wright.

Playing at the back or upfront Clarke will give his all, and that’s all we can ask of any player in a tangerine shirt.

Walsall Team News:

Walsall look Ok but not great on paper. They have signed veteran Steve Claridge from Bradford, who will use his experience against a shaky looking pool defence. They also have a very handy central defender in Chris Westwood, who was in Hartlepool’s nearly team last year.

There are plenty of options up front. Madds Timm, on loan from Man United, Scott Fitzgerald on loan from Brentford, and Andrew Barrowman (remember him?) all provide different options. None have yet to score for their new club, and goals have been hard to come by since Matty Fryatt left to Leicester City.

Team news for Walsall is former Derby keeper Andy Oakes is a doubt along with Mark Wright, Kevin James and Grant Smith Ishmel Demontagnac is suspended after his second red card of the season against Yeovil.

Player to watch: Chris Westwood

For the reverse of this fixture I picked out Matty Fryatt as the player to watch, since then Fryatt who was the Saddler’s top scorer has moved on to pastures new at the Walkers Stadium. Their second top scorer was Jorge Leitao, but since then Jorge has said adeus and gone back to Portugal, leaving Chris Westwood and Grant Smith as the clubs top scorers.

Smith scored two of his three goals came away at Tranmere, when the Saddlers ran out 2-1 winners at Prenton Park. But Smith is a doubt for the match at Bloomfield Road.

So I’ve picked out Westwood* as the man to watch, the former Monkey Hanger scored last Saturday against Bradford and will stand as a tough opponent for who ever starts upfront for the pool

* Chris is in no way related to Radio 1 and MTV’s Pimp Your Ride UK presenter Tim Westwood, Tim does have a bother called Chris, but Chris wished not to be related to the “big dog”.

Match Facts & Stats

Both side won their home matches against each other in last years campaign. Pool ran out 2-0 winners at Bloomfield Road thanks to goals from John Murphy and Keith Southern. The exciting match saw now Oldham player Richie Wellens send off for a handball on the line, the resulting penalty from Matt Fyratt was saved by Lee Jones. Then Walsall keeper Joe Murphy was sent off for violent conduct as he demonstrated with Keigan Parker after a penalty had been awarded to the Tangerines.

The match at the Bescot was a little tamer, Walsall ran out 3-2 winners with a goal from Leitao and a brace from Marvin Robinson. The Pool scores that day were Scot Taylor and Keigan Parker.

The two sides met this season at the Bescot Stadium on New Years Eve. James Constable was the party pooper that day, grabbing two second half goals.

Ref Watch:

R J Beeby – Games: 24 Yellow Cards: 60 Red Cards: 6

S J Cook and P E Curry
Fourth Official : A Rawcliffe

Mr Beeby, now there?s a guy who you don?t want get on the wrong side of. Earlier this season at Turf Moor he sent off 4 players in one match. Andy Marshall, Jody Morris and Ben May were sent of for Millwall and James O’Connor for Burnley.

May had just arrived on the pitch as a sub on 44 mins, then at half time he was sent off for allegedly making a racist comment to Frank ?the tank? Sinclair. Frank and all the other players said that nothing had been said, but Mr Beeby decided that something had been sent off and May was sent off. So watch out! for the Beeb!

Match Prediction:

Blackpool 2 – 1 Walsall
Parker and Clarke, Westwood for the Saddlers

Next Fixtures:

Football League One A Southend 08-04-2006