Date: 11th February 2010 at 5:51pm
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The days after our superb comeback against Watford on January 23, Keith Southern said he thought that it was a season defining result. It put the Seasiders back amongst the playoff pack and with winnable games coming up, the rest of the season was looking bright.

Wind that on three weeks: a draw and three defeats since that win and Ian Holloway’s side sit 9th in the table, three points behind Leicester City (and the Foxes have two games in hand).

But what’s worse is that bitter rivals Preston are just two behind with a game in hand.

That’s something fans of both sides have perhaps forgotten about in the week running up to the game: this derby is huge. Maybe the most important since Blackpool were promoted in 2007. Tony Parkes would obviously disagree after his sides 1-0 win last term, but a win – without sounding cliché – could shape the rest of the campaign.

After a relatively shaky start at the helm (which looked to have been over-played in the media), Darren Ferguson is looking to put together his fourth victory for PKE on Saturday.

They come up against a Blackpool side who, roared on by over 5500 supporters, will provide a stiff test for the home side.

And if history is anything to go by, Ollie’s men should come out on top. Without talismanic figure Charlie Adam, ‘Pool might have to have a little bit of a rethink in midfield. This could mean they operate a 4-4-2 system instead of the trusted 4-5-1, with Stephen Dobbie partnering DJ Campbell up front.

Preston’s team should pick itself really. First teamers Eddie Nolan, Darren Carter, Stephen Elliot, Keith Treacy and Veliche Shumulikoski, Wayne Henderson and Liam Chilvers played in yesterday’s 1-0 defeat at the hands of 10-man Wrexham.

Vital Quotes:

To read what Brett Ormerod had to say, click here >>>

New PKE signing Matt James: ‘Obviously, being from Lancashire, I know about derbies and to be at United I know all about the Manchester derby.

‘Now, being a Preston player, I understand what the Preston fans want against Blackpool on Saturday, so let’s hope we can give it to them.’

Ian Holloway: ‘It is a test of character for us now but I think the players have got the character, without a shadow of a doubt.

‘There’s no doubt Preston is a game where the players will have to show their character and that’s what I’ll be looking for.’

Preston North End Team News:

Preston have no fresh injury worries ahead of the derby. Youl Mawene looks set to partner St. Ledger in the heart of defence, but will be pushed hard by Collins for a place.

Coutts and James could both start in the midfield once again in the absence of Chaplow as Ferguson builds his own team at Deepdale.

Up front it could be a three, with Wallace, Parkin and Welbeck starting the last game against Sheffield United.

Player to watch: Ross Wallace

Always the threat when we play Preston, Wallace will provide either Baptiste or Eardley problems at right back.

The former Sunderland winger has a wicked left foot and scored a fantastic equaliser from a freekick in the earlier fixture this season.

Blackpool Team News:

Wingers Billy Clarke and Hameur Bouazza are both set to miss out once again, whilst Danny Coid is out with a tight hamstring.

Charlie Adam is still suspended so it’ll be interesting to see if Jason Euell again gets the nod in the midfield.

In goal, it really is a toss up between who plays between Rachubka and Gilks.

Player to watch: David Vaughan

After being slightly below par in recent weeks, Vaughan will be looking to get a hold of the game on Saturday.

The little Welshman won’t have such a physical battle and this might allow him to settle down and spray the ball about, as we know he can.


Predict the game in our forum by clicking here >>>

Ref Watch:

Mike Dean

Next Fixtures:

Tuesday February 16
Middlesbrough (H)