So here we are, Heroes v Villains. Well, let’s hope that the boys in tangerine are ‘Heroes’ by just after 9.30pm tomorrow night!
On paper this is a game where we’ve got nothing to lose and anything we get is a real bonus.
Then again, times are tough at Villa. O’Neill’s gone and has been replaced by Houllier who’s got off to a poor start and already has a section of the Villa faithful on his back. Add to that a raft of injuries and we might never get a better chance to beat the Villa.
Fingers crossed Ollie doesn’t play tinkerman too much as three points tomorrow night would be a massive boost ahead of two very winnable games against West Ham and Wolves.
Ian Holloway says that he will rotate his squad tomorrow night ahead of Saturday’s six pointer against West Ham:
‘We’re going to use some different players who want to earn the right to play for Blackpool. I’m confident they’ll give me a fantastic performance and will get the right result.’
Meanwhile, Barry Bannan says that the Seasiders are not to be underestimated:
‘I told the boys back here that Blackpool won’t struggle this year.
‘When I was there last year I saw how good they were and how good footballers they’ve got.
‘The boys – their attitude is first class. They just get on with the job and to be honest they are doing really well this season.
‘I am not surprised at all at the results they have got.
‘I think they will surprise a few teams. They have surprised a few teams already and as I said I am not surprised at all because I played with them all last year and I have seen how good they are and I think they will carry on doing the same this season.’
Villa Team News:
Villa are ravaged by injuries, with Steve Sidwell the latest to find himself on the physio’s table.
He joins Carew, Delph, Heskey, Reo-Coker and Petrov on the sidelines.
In one bit of good news for Villa though, Gabi Agbonlahor should be fit enough to return to the bench.
Player to watch: Marc Albrighton
Stephen Crainey had a difficult afternoon on Saturday against Seamus Coleman, and another young winger could well give him the run around tomorrow night.
Albrighton has been the shining light of Villa’s season to date and although many will see Ashley Young as the main threat, take your eyes off young Marc at your peril.
Blackpool Team News:
Craig Cathcart joins Alex Baptiste, Billy Clarke, Malaury Martin and Paul Rachubka on the sidelines. The defender has a knee injury.
Ian Holloway has indicated that he will rotate his squad for this one, although how many changes he makes remains to be seen. Matt Phillips is widely expected to make his full debut however, whilst Brett Ormerod could return to the Seasiders’ bench.
Player to watch: Matt Phillips
The word on the grapevine suggests that Phillips will make his first start for the Seasiders tomorrow, and, if so, expect to him to be at the forefront of much of ‘Pool’s attacking play – especially if Ollie rings the changes.
The boy’s a talent, and it will be interesting to see how he does from the start of a game.
Match Facts & Stats
This will be the first game between the two sides since 1975 – a game Villa won 3-0.
Villa haven’t won in five, or won at home since August.
Unlike freescoring Blackpool, Villa have scored just ten all season.
Blackpool have three away wins in the league this season, more than anyone else.
When ‘Pool have opened the scoring in a Premier League match, they are unbeaten.
West Ham away on Saturday.