Predicting which sides will fare best and worst on the fickle thermals and currents of the Championship may seem like a fool’s errand given the unpredictable nature of recent campaigns, but when it comes to relegation there’s a team in Tangerine in the midst of a tumultuous pre-season that look a fair wager for the drop at 9/2.
For Blackpool the 2012/13 campaign was one that started brightly. Having missed out on gaining promotion back to the top-flight at the first opportunity after a play-off final loss to West Ham in the preceding season, they were top of the division after three games.
However, the opening of the floodgates as they hammered Ipswich 6-0 in the third of those fixtures was to prove the high-watermark. Their form tailed off and beloved manager Ian Holloway forsook them for Crystal Palace in November.
Holloway’s replacement lasted two largely-unsuccessful months at Bloomfield Road before leaving for the Blackburn Rovers circus top, meaning it was Paul Ince that saw out the campaign in charge of the Seasiders.
Ince initially impressed in his managerial career, saving Macclesfield from relegation from the Football League, before guiding MK Dons to a League Two/Football League Trophy double. These exploits earned him a move to Blackburn Rovers, but his time in the top flight was a chastening one, ending after just 21 games.
Since then his career has failed to reignite during periods at MK Dons and Notts County, both of which saw him leave before the end of his contract. He has reportedly tried to resign from his post with the Seasiders recently only to have that resignation refused by the club’s board.
His win percentage in his first campaign at Bloomfield Road equals his time at Blackburn as the worst of his managerial career and he’ll have to contend with a good deal of squad-churn during the off-season.
Players who shone for the club in the Premier League such as Ian Evatt, Neil Eardley and Ludovic Sylvestre have left during the summer and they may soon be joined by Stephen Crainey and Alex Baptiste, who are being courted by Birmingham and Bolton respectively.
Ince currently needs in the region of 10 players to form his squad for the new campaign and numerous trialists have been considered as he tries to rebuild his squad .
With the Bloomfield Road board likely to be made some fairly persuasive offers for prized assests Tom Ince and Matt Phillips, there’s a possibility that they too could join the exodus ahead of the new season.
Peterborough United proved last term that a poor first few months of the season can be very tricky to come back from when they narrowly failed to avoid the drop. Blackpool must trust a manager who has found success hard to come by for some time to rebuild a squad shorn of a number of senior squad members and look candidates to be slow out of the blocks in 2013/4.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.