Vital Blackpool ed. Jack Gaughan gives us his perspective on the Pool
Vital Blackpool editor Jack Gaughan gives us a Blackpool perspective on Saturday`s clash against the Tangerines at Bloomfield Road.
What were your hopes, fears and expectations for the season?
I don’t think we were hoping for an awful lot at the start of the season. We lost three huge players – Charlie Adam, DJ Campbell and David Vaughan – to Premier League teams and it was always going to be tricky to find players cheaply of similar ability.
There was a grave lack of spending this summer, as we’ve grown acustom to. It meant we signed a huge amount of players on the cheap hoping a few of them will stick. So it was always going to take time to find the best eleven, let alone those gelling together.
But we seem to have fit a formula recently and I’m delighted with where we are in the table. I was never fearful we’d be embroiled in a relegation dogfight because the manager is too good, but didn’t want us to disappoint. In the main, we haven’t, yet…
What sort of knock-on effect did relegation have?
It had a massive knock-on effect. Ian Holloway basically said in the press that he wasn’t up for it in the first few months of the season. Everyone wants to be in the top flight and if your manager can’t be arsed, then why should the players?
However, after we got spanked away at Burnley something has clicked. Choice words were exchanged behind closed doors and the team are battling for each other. It feels like we’ve got the old Blackpool back.
How have the numerous new signings fitted in?
The loan players normally make more of an impact here. Jonjo Shelvey was superb until he was recalled and Callum McManaman is one to watch (from Wigan).
As for the permanent signings, Barry Ferguson has obviously been impressive – as a midfielder and captain. On the other hand, despite his goals Kevin Phillips hasn’t been anywhere near his best and doesn’t really pose much of a threat. Maybe a case for not spending money!
Watch out for Lua Lua – Mr Unpredictable. And as for the other new signings, they’re largely watching from the sidelines or playing for lower league teams on loan. Waste of money.
On the basis your promotion was a surprise, is it critical you win promotion this season?
Not at all. We’re probably the richest club in the Football League (given the parachute payments, Sky money and the fact we don’t spend a dime) so we’re set up for years. In fact, Holloway said the club would be financially sound for about five years even if no-one turned up to watch us.
On the pitch, I think it’s critical we make a stab of doing something this season. Nobody is asking for promotion but to be in and around the mix is relatively important. We want to be an attractive proposition for the bargain basement free transfers next summer.
How has former Watford favourite, SuperKev done for you?
I’ve mellowed about him since the previous question. He’s done alright. He saved us in games quite a bit at the start of the year which was great – even when we were playing poorly.
You can’t expect too much from someone his age, however, he can’t hold the ball up and in a 4-3-3 that’s pretty crucial. Coming off the bench he hasn’t got that spark I was expecting but maybe it’ll come.
Who is the key man on Saturday that we should be looking out for?
Ludovic Sylvestre. We signed him after promotion and despite being the best ball-player at the club, he didn’t get a look in. That was to do with fitness levels, but now he’s been given his chance in the side and I don’t think you’ll see a more cultured midfielder in the division.
His eye for a pass is frightening and it’s like having a new signing. He is prone to getting over-run in midfield though, so Watford energy in there could be our undoing.
Where will you finish this season?
8th, and I’d be pleased with that.
2-0 to the Pool.
Cheers Jack, let`s hope SuperKev plays poorly then – he`s bound to score against one of his former clubs.