Last pre-season we lost our most prized asset, Wes Hoolahan, to Norwich and ended up playing The Canaries in the second game of the campaign.
This time around we’ve again lost our most prized asset in Shaun Barker, and his new Derby County side travel to Bloomfield Road tonight for the third game of the 09/10 Championship season. The atmosphere surrounding meeting an old friend is a bit more pleasant 12 months on, with the manner of Reggie’s transfer being far less public than that of Wes’. The mutual respect between Barker and the Blackpool fans should see that the 90 minutes of football will be the only focus of attention.
Rams boss Nigel Clough on a possible start for Barker: ‘We will be looking at the back four who started on Saturday. Can they get a clean sheet at Blackpool? If not, who comes in to give us the best chance of doing that?
‘Shaun can play right-back or centre-back and we’ve got Jay McEveley who can play left-back.
‘So there are one or two options but we have to be certain they are going to do better than the lads who are in there at the moment.’
‘Pool manager Ian Holloway on the refereeing scandal at Ashton Gate on Saturday: ‘I would have said ‘stop, come off the pitch lads’. In fact I’d have walked on the pitch and walked them off because that is wrong.
‘I’d probably be fined for doing that but I’m sorry, the Football League should be fined – they’ve ruined our season so far. Respect campaign … for what?’
Blackpool Team News:
Striker Ben Burgess remains a huge doubt for The Seasiders as he struggles with a groin injury which kept him out of Saturday’s 1-1 draw against Cardiff.
It is thought that Daniel Nardiello will also miss the game, which means Brett Ormerod is a certain starter unless Billy Clarke has fought his way into Ollie’s thoughts, or fresh blood is drafted in before half-past five.
New loan signing Jay Emmanual-Thomas is set for a place on the bench, with the midfield five likely to comprise of Euell, Adam, Southern, Vaughan and Taylor-Fletcher.
Player to watch: Brett Ormerod
If ‘Pool’s number 10 starts tonight he’ll be looking to provide a better link between himself and the midfield than he did at the weekend. The 4-5-1 formation employed doesn’t suit the former Southampton man but he will have to attempt to hold the ball up to runners from midfield to get involved.
Derby County Team News:
After returning from injury in Saturday’s away defeat at Scunthorpe, Rob Hulse is expected to play some part. He’ll be joined by Kris Commons who has also shaken off a hamstring problem.
The visitors are likely to field a 4-5-1 formation and it isn’t yet known whether Shaun Barker will get his first start in a white shirt or not.
Player to watch: Paul Green
The former Doncaster Rover’s midfielder really pulls the strings in the middle of midfield and had two instrumental games against The Seasiders last term.
In the 4-1 demolition of Tony Parkes’ side he scored third and was a stand out performer at Bloomfield Road in a 3-2 thriller in favour of the home side.
If he’s given room, his passing could prove a problem.
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Mr E Ilderton
Saturday 22nd August 2009