Middlesbrough play host to the Seasiders tonight for the first time in the Riverside Stadium and the first time since 1986. That year both sides were in the old Division 3; the ‘Pool won 3-1.
Hopefully that attacking mentality will be taken without fear to ‘Boro tonight with Ian Holloway’s team looking to bounce back from Saturday’s shock defeat and a three game winless run.
So what better place to try to overcome that than against a team who won 5-1 away from home last time out?
Or – if we’re being positive – Blackpool travel to a ground which has seen just three home wins all season.
Whichever way you look at it, we’re right up against it tonight. Gordon Strachen’s men boast quality throughout, not least up front with the Championship-prolific Leroy Lita beginning to find form.
Captain Gary O’Neil provides the spark in the midfield and if the Seasiders aren’t right at it for 90 minutes it could be a very long evening indeed.
The midfield will be key. Charlie Adam has looked jaded in recent fixtures but with very little in reserve may have to play a full 90 once again despite not looking 100% fit.
Up front Ben Burgess misses out after collapsing in a heap after a matter of seconds against Barnsley so Jason Euell is likely to lead the line.
And that’s something he’s got to do far better than he has of late…
Jason Euell on his unsuccessful spell at the Riverside: ‘I went there with the intention of playing regular football under a new manager in Southgate.
‘It started well but then it faded. As it went on ideas changed.
‘But I’ve got no hard feelings. It is part and parcel of football.’
Gordon Strachen on letting Adam Johnson decide whether he plays or not, after family illness: ‘Adam Johnson has trained with us.
‘He has had a very difficult week but we kept in contact with him all the time and we are delighted to hear that things are getting better for the Johnson family.
‘I said to the kid last week that he needn’t come back until he was ready. The most important thing was his family.’
Middlesbrough Team News:
As said above, Adam Johnson could return to the side.
But Jeremie Aliadiere, Seb Hines, Caleb Folan and Matthew Bates are all still out.
The Seasiders will be pleased with the absence of Aliadiere, but Dave Kitson is likely to start after his performance at Loftus Road on Saturday – beware!
Player to watch: Mark Yeates
The tricky winger signed from Colchester United in the summer always looks dangerous.
His two freekicks a couple of seasons ago at Bloomfield Road sealed United a point from nowhere and he’s always likely to jink something out of nothing.
Blackpool Team News:
Billy Clarke and Ben Burgess are the big name absentees from the Blackpool line up.
Jason Euell will probably come in for Burgess, but there’s a tussle for Clarke’s spot. Barry Bannan, Gary Taylor-Fletcher and Brett Ormerod are all capable of playing out there.
Player to watch: Alex John-Baptiste
After having his first dip of form whilst being at Bloomfield Road it’ll be interesting to see how Baps reacts.
It’s unknown whether Holloway will be tempted to throw Evatt back into the team in which case Baptiste could be at right back.
But we haven’t seen a test of his character yet, and this could be it.
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Saturday 12 December
Ipswich Town Away