Will the Tangerines avoid the drop?…
On the 2nd of November 2013, Blackpool sat 4th in the table on 27 points having just completed a 1-0 away victory at play-off rivals Nottingham Forest. However, 17 games without a win followed as they managed just three league victories between then and the end of the season avoiding relegation by the skin of their teeth. Having lost a lot of their better players over the summer following a second failure to return to the Premierleague, Blackpool were a surprise package at the start of the season. However, much of that form relied on the individual brilliance of Tom Ince. Following his January departure to Crystal Palace on loan goals and wins dried up for Blackpool and they soon looked a team bereft of ideas and confidence. What didn’t help was the awful disciplinary record, picking up 10 red cards over the season. Manager Paul Ince hardly set a good example when he incurred a five game stadium ban for a serious incident involving the match officials at Bournemouth in September. He was relieved of his duties in the middle of their long winless run but caretaker Barry Ferguson only just kept them up before leaving his role at the end of the season. Their was trouble off the field for Blackpool too as fans turned on chairman Karl Oyston for a serious lack of investment given their relatively recent spell in the Premiership.
Jose Riga was appointed manager this summer after his short term contract at Charlton came to an end. An extremely experienced manager having plied his trade in a number of countries Riga did an excellent job of securing Championship football for Charlton last season as their position looked rather precarious when he took over with 16 games to go. His last game for Charlton was ironically a 3-0 victory at Blackpool. However the situation at the Tangerines already looks ominous with he and chairman Karl Oyston having serious disagreements about summer signings leaving them with currently 14 professional players to start the season with.
In: Sergei Zenjov (FC Karpaty Lviv), Peter Clarke (Huddersfield Town), Thomasz Cywka, Jacob Mellis (Barnsley), Nathan Delfouneso (Aston Villa), Joe Miguel Cubero (Herediano)
Loans In: Donervan Daniels (West Brom)
Out: Chris Basham (Sheffield Utd), Mark Halstead (Shrewsbury Town), Kirk Broadfoot (Rotherham Utd), Neal Bishop (Scunthorpe Utd), Craig Cathcart (Watford), Matt Gilks (Burnley), David Goodwillie (Aberdeen), Thomas Ince (Hull City), Ricardo Fuller (Millwall), Harrison McGahey (Sheffield Utd), Nathan Tyson (Doncaster Rovers), Robert Earnshaw, Barry Ferguson, Michael Chopra, Elliott Grandin, Faris Haroun (Released)
Having lost the majority of their best players for the second summer running and with major disputes over signings meaning they haven’t even replaced them numerically Blackpool will have worked a miracle if they are to avoid relegation this season, unless their situation changes dramatically.