Latics welcome struggling Seasiders to the DW Stadium as Gary Caldwell’s side look to get back to winning ways.
- Latics host Blackpool this Saturday at the DW Stadium (kick-off 3pm).
- Struggling Seasiders won local derby with Fleetwood Town last time out but no Blackpool player has scored since October – a run stretching seven games.
- A win for Latics could see them close the gap on the automatic promotion spots to two points, Blackpool victory likely to move Neil McDonald’s side out of the relegation zone.
Saturday will be the second time that Blackpool have visited the DW in little over a month after November’s Johnstone’s Paint Trophy Northern Area quarter-final ended with Latics progressing to the next round with a 4-0 victory.
Jordy Hiwula bagged a brace whilst Sean Murray and Yanic Wildschut also notched as Latics won 4-0 against Blackpool at the DW Stadium in November.
Tickets for Saturday’s match are priced at £20 for adults, £17 for over 65s, £10 for under 18s, £5 for under 11s and £2 for under 5s – for further details click here.
Blackpool make our top ten of teams we have met most frequently in league fixtures since we entered the Football League in 1978 and they are one of just four teams that we have met in all four tiers with Sheffield United, Reading and Fulham the others. Today is the 32nd league meeting between the two sides and it is Latics who better the head-to-head record, winning just under half of the previous 31 meetings. We have won our last three matches against the Seasiders in all competitions, completing the double over them last season for the first time since 1998. However, both sides were relegated at the end of the last campaign, with the Bloomfield Road side the only team Latics took six points from over the course of the season.
James McClean was on the mark when Latics defeated Blackpool 3-1 at Bloomfield Road last season.
Despite a colourful history, both sides have found themselves on the decline, though it would be a fair analysis to say that Latics’ pursuit of a return to the second tier has been more successful than that of today’s opponents who are rebuilding admirably having rebuilt an entire new squad over the summer under new boss Neil McDonald, with Will Watt from the Blackpool Gazette saying in our ‘View from the Press Box’ on page 30 of this programme that survival and consolidation would both be considered good results from this season for McDonald and his side.
Both Blackpool and Latics have seen a remarkable turnover of players since their last league meeting ten months ago, from those sides, only Jason Pearce, Chris McCann and Don Cowie remain in Latics colours with then Blackpool midfielder David Perkins one of 23 arrivals at the DW Stadium this season. For the Seasiders, only David Ferguson, Tom Aldred, Henry Cameron and Connor Oliver remain.
An already depleted Blackpool squad saw 21 players leave in the summer, and new boss McDonald was given the task of building a team in two months, ready for the start of the campaign. Transfer fees were parted with to bring in striker Mark Cullen from Luton Town and forward Jack Redshaw from Morecambe whilst Brad Potts (Carlisle United) and Jarrett Rivers – the star of Blyth Spartans’ magical 2014-15 FA Cup run – were also purchased. Experience arrived shrewdly on McDonald’s part as he looked for players without a club to come and help his young squad, including Latics legend Emmerson Boyce who turned down a new deal at the DW Stadium and instead moved to Bloomfield Road. Other free agents who arrived were experienced goalkeeper Colin Doyle, midfielder Jim McAlister and David Norris and striker Martin Paterson. The loan market was also delved into by McDonald, though Lloyd Jones – signed from Premier League Liverpool – has since been injured and Kwame Thomas, who came in from Derby County, has been recalled by the Rams. Of late, young players Hayden White (Bolton Wanderers), Will Aimson (Hull City), Dean Lyness (Burton Albion) and Elliot Lee (West Ham United) have been acquired to try and help turnaround the Lancashire side’s fortunes.
Blackpool’s campaign began with a six-game winless run; after a 2-2 draw at Colchester United on the opening day, a Capital One Cup defeat to League Two Northampton Town was followed by home defeats to Rochdale, Burton Albion and Walsall and a 2-0 loss at Sheffield United.
A 1-0 win at Scunthorpe United kicked off September and, despite away defeats at Gillingham and Shrewsbury, the Seasiders came out of the month in good fettle as wins over Chesterfield, Swindon Town and Port Vale – the latter coming the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy – put McDonald’s side back on track. Draws against high-flying Coventry City and Millwall and a win over fellow struggles Crewe Alexandra lifted Blackpool out of the drop-zone come the end of October.
Since that win over the Alex, results have deteriorated dramatically, though, as five consecutive league defeats and FA Cup and Johnstone’s Paint Trophy exits contributed to a run of seven consecutive defeats, a run that was only ended a fortnight ago in the Seasiders’ last fixture, a 1-0 home win over local rivals Fleetwood Town.
Sat 22nd in the table, but only three points below 17th place Swindon Town, Blackpool will still believe they can improve in the second half of the season and record enough points to stay in the third tier. McDonald will no doubt want to address his side’s form in front of goal which sees them hold the record of the division’s lowest scorers, with just 16 strikes in 20 league games. Alarmingly, the goal in the Seasiders’ win over Fleetwood was scored by Cod Army captain Nathan Pond and thus a Blackpool player hasn’t scored since the 4-3 defeat at Bury in October, a run stretching back seven games.
Goals from Andy Liddell, Gareth Griffiths, Simon Haworth, Stuart Barlow and Darren Sheridan secured a 5-1 victory over Blackpool in March 2000.
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