Opposing View - Blackpool
Only a handful of games to play now - how is the run-in looking for Blackpool and their Play-Off aspirations?
On paper we've got a relatively gentle run-in. I'd expect Leeds and Burnley to both be out of the Play-Off picture by the time we play them and Millwall should have nothing to play for by the last game. But, having said that, there are absolutely no easy games in the division and I'm probably looking at Barnsley at home on Monday to be one where we'll slip up.
Given our recent record at this stage in the season (two promotions) I'd back us to stay in the top six. The worrying thing is that this a new squad and it remains to be seen whether they have the mental toughness in April that their predecessors' have in abundance. How good a job has Ian Holloway done (so far) this season when you consider the loss of key players etc?
Simply put, he is the best manager outside the Premier League. Ollie does have a tendency to harp on at the same point and make erratic tactical decisions, but his results speak for themselves. If he manages to get us promoted again it will be a miracle given the lack of investment (yet again) from the board and the fact he has missed out on so many of his targets.
It does go to prove that if you have the right manager, who the players are willing to give their all for, it doesn't necessarily matter who you buy in the transfer windows. The fact we're continuing to do it on a shoe-string budget (bar Kevin Phillips and Barry Ferguson) is remarkable and Ollie has to take all the plaudits for reinventing his team in such a short space of time. There have been quite a few additions over the course of the season - who has impressed you the most of the new boys?
Tom Ince has been the real revelation. We got him on a free transfer from Liverpool as part of the Charlie Adam deal and he has grown into the real deal. He's only 20 and has matured as a winger already which bodes well for the future. I'd say he is a more consistent performer than Matt Phillips. Who will be the key man on Saturday for Blackpool?
It's very difficult to pick a key man given the team will probably completely change from the win against Southampton. Keith Southern is probably the one. He epitomises what the club is about and when he is 'on it' in midfield we really tick. He didn't play enough in the Premier League last season, which is why we lost some of our bite in that midfield three. If you could trade one Tangerine for one Hornet who would you swap and why?
We were in for Mark Yeates and Prince Bauben last summer. Yeates has always impressed me actually, but I'd like it if we could land a Mariappa or Hodson. Where will you finish this season?
6th Match prediction?
1-1Cheers Jack, sounds like Southern is your John Eustace.