Blackpool v Manchester United in the Barclays Premier League; it doesn’t get any bigger than this.
Tomorrow’s game – if it goes ahead – will really put into perspective how far we’ve come over the past decade.
At present the Bloomfield Road pitch is covered, with hot air blowers also working their magic in the hope of getting the game on, but word from the club is that it isn’t looking too clever – with temperatures reaching minues eight last night, large parts of the playing surface are now frozen.
The ground staff are working around the clock to get the game ahead, with more blowers scheduled to arrive this lunchtime, but with temperatures still in the minus figures, it may be time for some crossed fingers!
Hopefully the game will go ahead, with all exiles (including those in my household!) who have been besieged by snow this week able to make their way to Bloomfield Road safely and in good time.
Although there will be concerns about the playing surface with it having been covered for around a week, if anything that plays into our hands; most of our lads will be used to playing in such conditions, and backed by a sell out home crowd, there is certainly the potential for an upset.
United are unbeaten in the league so far this season and beat Blackburn 7-1 last time out, but look shaky on the road, as their 4-0 hammering in midweek shows.
We have a reputation for taking big scalps, and do you know what; I think that United – in front of the ESPN cameras – could well be another.
‘Pool manager Ian Holloway says that tomorrow’s game will be one to remember for the fans:
‘It is fantastic for the fans. This season belongs to them.
‘They’ve waited long enough. It means so much to everybody in the town. It is a community club and it is brilliant.
‘Whatever score it is, it will be a great day for Blackpool. The fans totally and utterly deserve this.
‘They helped us last season. They have created an energy at this club and I can’t thank them enough.
‘I think the lads feel that way too because they try so hard every week for them.
‘We are a proper football club and we are now taking on one of the best in the world. It is unbelievable – I could talk all day about it.’
Blackpool Team News:
Paul Rachubka has been denied permission by the Premier League to become one of the Seasiders’ 25 man squad in light of Matt Gilks’ injury, so Richard Kingson will continue to deputise in goal with youngster Mark Halstead on the bench.
In defence, Alex Baptiste is still short of match fitness, whilst Chris Basham could miss the rest of the season after breaking his leg in a recent reserve team game.
In midfield, long term absentee Malaury Martin will be missing, whilst up top Marlon Harewood remains sidelined.
Despite being down to the bare bones (as our subs bench tomorrow will certify), there is enough quality in the ‘Pool starting XI to make waves tomorrow evening.
Player to watch: DJ Campbell
He’s been playing brilliantly of late, but clearly has zero confidence infront of goal at present.
Indeed, he’s scored just twice since (finally) signing permanently for the Seasiders, and is yet to score at Bloomfield Road since his return.
There is no better time for an upturn in DJ’s fortunes than tomorrow evening against the league leaders with the world watching.
To beat United, we’re going to have to take our chances. Let’s hope that DJ has his shooting boots on.
Manchester United Team News:
Paul Scholes is hoping to return from a groin strain, but Michael Owen, Owen Hargeaves and Antonio Valencia remain long-term absentees.
Player to watch: Wayne Rooney
Will get lots of abuse but has the capacity for magic.
Hasn’t been himself for a long, long time, but he could spring into life at any moment… sod’s law it’ll be against the Seasiders!
Match Facts & Stats
Manchester United are unbeaten in the league this season, but have won just once on their travels, drawing their other six games.
Blackpool, meanwhile, have played six at home; winning two, drawing two, losing two, scoring eleven and conceding eleven.
United have scored eleven on their travels, conceding ten.
The last time the two sides met at Bloomfield Road was in the old Second Division in 1974. United won that game 3-0.
The last time ‘Pool beat United at Bloomfield Road was in 1966/7 – a 5-1 win in the League Cup.
Away at Stoke next Saturday.