Season Ready?
By Editor
Saturday 27 Jul 2019 15:11:00
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Whenever Blackpool get mentioned these days it's refreshing not to see the words 'crisis club' before our name. When you look at the real mess that teams like Bolton and Bury are in, whose fans are still unsure if they'll have a Football League club to support come next Saturday, it's always worth taking a step back and looking how far the Seasiders have come in the last 4 months. From the 'big return' against Southend, to Simon Sadler's purchase of the club, the work that has been done around the ground, the appointment of a new management team and over 5,200 season ticket holders, it is a remarkable transformation. Maybe testament to that is how expectations have returned, comments and criticism are in full flow and we await that first bad miss, poorly timed tackle and referee nightmare. Finally, for Blackpool fans, football is back but are we ready for it on the pitch?

Pre-season never looked particularly challenging for the Seasiders with a trip to Scotland and low key local friendlies and so little can be gauged from performances or results. It's all about fitness and familiarity for the players at this time of year, whilst for the manager it's about assessing his squad and working out the strengths and weaknesses. For Simon Grayson that is especially so. It's only 3 weeks since he was appointed as manager which is an inadquate amount of time to monitor his existing squad whilst scouting round for potential additions. So what will he have learnt from his side now that the preparation is over and the real work begins? The 2-0 home defeat to Blackburn on Saturday will have given him his first real in sight in to how his team can perform. Like most supporters he'll now know that we're short of creativity and goals, the defence isn't watertight and there isn't enough quality in the squad for the whole season especilaly if he is unlucky with injuries. The fact Blackpool finished 10th in a poor league last season shouldn't be cause to think one or two additions and we'll be top six this season, as if anything last season the Seasiders over-achieved rather than the other way round.

There's no doubt the arrival of KaiKai, Devitt and Hardie in particular should add another dimension to what was a predictable attack last season which heavily relied on Armand Gnanduillet. Whether Armand and Hardie can form a partnership or whether Yussuf can add something different is a big question and you'd hope that Grayson will add another option to ensure our meagre goals tally from last season can be added to. Whilst Spearing is a midfield general, does he still have the ability to be that ball winning creative player we need in that area? Thompson and Virtue both have ability but neither really made themselves first choices last year whilst Pritchard and Tollitt have plenty to do to assert themselves in that starting XI. Despite James Husband's arrival, and with Marc Bola's future in doubt, Grayson has a few decent options at the back but again there doesn't seem that first choice defence he will require. Even the keepers position and who will be his Number One remains in doubt.

From where we have been the last few close seasons - unable to field an entire squad, paper boys in the side, A Triallist our most regular player and managers ready to walk within the first week of the season - we seem in a very stable place. We have a new owner, there is definitely a feelgood factor around the place, we are a work in progress and August will be a busy month both on and off the pitch. For reference, when Blackpool drew with Luton after 9 games of last season, we were two points above the Hatters who were in 12th place. As the song goes 'it's not where you start, it's where you finish'!

If you would like to contribute an article, e-mail us at avftt@mail.com - we'd really appreciate your input.



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