Relegation candidates – Blackpool party set to end quickly
Blackpool’s remarkable promotion to the Premier League came just nine years after gaining another play-off win to clamber out of the fourth tier of English football.
As the mastermind of the club’s final step up Ian Holloway has performed a minor miracle and his words of motivation are unquantifiable.
However, such is the sudden rise and subsequent ill-equipped squad, the Tangerines, 1/4 favourites to get relegated, seem to have little choice but to treat their maiden Premier League campaign as tourists do their seaside town: like a holiday.
Matthew Gilks emerged as Blackpool’s number one last season but he could do little to halt the goals going in – 58 conceded in 46 league games was followed by another six in three play-off matches. Back-up Paul Rachubka has played once before in the top-flight – for Manchester United ten years ago.
Blackpool’s only signing so far this summer is Israeli centre-back Dekel Keinan, on a free from Maccabi Haifa. The 25-year-old has played 15 times for his nation and should provide experience alongside Ian Evatt or Alex Baptiste.
Promising right-back Seamus Coleman is back at Everton and will be missed, meaning the Seasiders’ hopes of staying up (11/4) will be severely hit.
Probably the strongest department for Blackpool. Charlie Adam scored 16 league goals for the side last term, while club captain Jason Euell, 33, has plenty of top-flight football in the bank.
David Vaughan has 17 caps for Wales, while Keith Southern will be playing his ninth season at Bloomfield Road. With two away matches in a row to start, after the opening day fixture was switched because of building delays, Blackpool need these players to perform at their maximum.
If Blackpool aren’t to finish bottom (an 11/10 chance) they will need to maintain their goal-scoring exploits from last year, which saw them grab the third most in the division.
Yet, with DJ Campbell back at Leicester (11 goals in 17 games on loan) a forwards list of 33-year-old Brett Ormerod (250/1 to get the Golden Boot), Gary Taylor-Fletcher and Billy Clarke won’t exactly strike fear into the hearts of opposition defences.
Blackpool only have 17 registered senior players in their ranks and such an alarming deficiency in both numbers and quality will ensure their stay in the top-flight is a short one.