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Thursday, December 04, 2008

Blackpool Preview

An away trip to Blackpool is, by my geography, the farthest for us in the fizzies. A long way to go to visit the smallest ground in the Division, with only 9,650 fans allowed in. Current manager is Simon Grayson and he's perhaps a pointer to what we can hope for in our own situation. After being in charge of the reserves, he stepped up to caretaker manager in November 2005, taking over when Colin Hendry left, and after steering them clear of relegation, was appointed manager in August 2006.
And he's much loved by the fans already, for in his first full season he took the Tangerines back into Tier Two for the first time in 29 years in May 2007. In their first season in the fizzies they finished 19th, ten points behind us but only 2 above the relegation zone.
But what's happening now in their second season in the fizzies? They're currently 20th with 24 points, 7 clear of the Addicks. And luck seems to have dealt us a good hand for a change as they don't seem to like playing at home and whilst they have the 4th best record away only Southampton have a worst home one.
Only two wins so far at Bloomfield Rd this season over Barnsley 1-0 in September and Derby 3-2 in October with 3 draws (Coventry, Cardiff, and Palarse) and 5 defeats.

Form Guide Blackpool have lost their last three home games to Ipswich 0-1, Preston 1-3 and most recently Wednesday 0-2 and overall they're third bottom of the last-8-games table with 2 wins and a draw and even more defeats than we've had, five. The Addicks of course, prop up the form table with 4 draws and 4 defeats and without a win in 10. But after losing 4 games in a row and only scoring once they displayed their best talents at Plymouth on Saturday and came from behind to won 2-1 with two late goals.
Whats Their Secret? Like Southampton, Blackpool obviously knew a relegation fight was a possibility and are therefore another team that like to play it cautious for the first 45 and then push on in the second half. Eleven of their 20 games have reached half-time at 0-0 ( we have only enjoyed scoreless first-halfs 3 times ) and of their 20 goals scored only 6 come in the first 45. But while opening up and attacking more after the break they also let goals in as well. Of the 28 goals conceded 22 have been after the break. But to compensate, they have powers of recovery that the Addicks seem to have lost completely. Whereas the Addicks have still not won a game after going behind this season (although it was close at Plymouth), Blackpool have won twice; their game at Plymouth as mentioned was remarkably like our own except that they had twice as many shots on target as we did and didn't concede a 94th minute goal, whereas at Watford, after going behind 1-2 and then 2-3, they went on to win 4-3.

Who They Got? Top goalscorers are Ben Burgess on 6 and Gary Taylor-Fletcher on 4. And their goalkeeper is American born, ex-Addick Paul Rachubka, although he never actually played for us during his two year stint as reserve to Dean Kiely. And if you thought that our loanee situation of 7 was a bit over the top, think again because after Thursdays arrival of loan signings Liam Dickinson from Derby, Kyle Reid from West Ham and goalkeeper Graham Stack from Plymouth Blackpool now have 8. The only other player that you might know is another loanee 31 year old ex-Villa Lee Hendrie.
DangerMan!


And the DangerMan this week is their new striker Liam Dickinson, above, on loan from Derby, He made the headlines last weekend, coming on as a 76th minute substitute in his very first fizzy game fresh from learning that Luke had joined the Rams. He scored with his first touch in the 79th minute and then scored the winner 3 minutes later. Seemingly the perfect sub he did very nicely at League One Huddersfield as well this season, also on loan, getting 6 goals in only 12 games. Perhaps it was the total of 4 yellow cards earned at Huddersfield which took him to Blackpool, or more likely its the arrival of new star Luke Varney who played 90 minutes for Derby in their defeat at Burnley.
History Despite Blackpools long time in lower divisions they have the best record against the Addicks of any of the other sides in the fizzies. Of the 24 seasons together they have won 52% of the games and lead us 25-13 with 10 draws. Luckily for us it's the Valley that they enjoy most having won there 10 times in 24 visits and they have a better percentage of wins there than anybody else in Tier Two. As for Bloomfield Rd, we've won just 4 times in 24 visits with 5 draws.
And to cap it all they've also managed to score over 100 goals against us in those 48 games and there's nobody else that we've ever played against thats done it so quickly and although they love the Valley, some of the defeats at Bloomfield have been pretty embarrassing. Letting in 5 goals 4 times, 6 on a couple of occasions, a 7 in 1963 and 8 goals in 1952. All of which goes to explain the 5-3 scoreline the last time we were there in February.
Our last win in Blackpool was in the previous game, in 1981, in our Third Division days by 2-0 but of the last 24 League games against them we've won just 4....
What're They Saying? Blackpool manager Grayson after the 2-1 win at Plymouth after going behind, "But we have a lot of faith and confidence in the players and they dug in there and showed the proper desire to get back into the game. They didn't fold, they kept going and got the result." and referring to Saturdays game, "We need to have a good tempo to our game, have high energy levels, go and close people down and get balls into the box. Somebody eventually will get beaten at our place and hopefully it is Charlton."
Parkinson on Fortune's return said: "I don't think it's a coincidence that the last clean sheet we kept was when he last played at Forest."
Team News Just when we thought we had solved our midfield problem with Semedo and Racon together another injury hits Therry. Its "a chondral defect of the patella" and to quote "we are going to drain the knee of the fluid and give him an injection. After that we will monitor the injury and decide whether Therry needs an operation or not. If he doesn't require an op, then hopefully he will only be out for the short term." The patella is the knee cap and a chondral defect seems to refer to cartilage trouble, so you won't expect Therry to return quickly.
Meanwhile, there's injury news that Andy Gray, who was subbed on Saturday has a slight hamstring strain.
But at least the numbers given concerning Jon Fortune look good. When he has played, Charlton have conceded just nine goals in as many games. However, during his absence the Addicks shipped a massive 25 goals in 13 matches,
So with a first clean sheet in 13 games its pretty certain that the defence will remain the same as against the Saints.
Semedo and Bailey will remain in midfield and even after his exploits with the U-18's Premiership interest will surely keep Shelvey out of sight of even a surprise inclusion. Gillespie and Bouazza remain on the wings and that leaves new favorite Leon Burton up front with a likely appearance from McLeod if Andy Gray doesn't make it.
Weaver; Cranie, Hudson, Fortune, McEveley; Gillespie, Semedo, Bailey, Bouazza; McLeod, Burton
Subs: Elliot, Moutaoukil, Holland, Sam, Todorov

Prediction We just have to start winning soon and basing my prediction on desire rather than calculation, its a 2-1 Addicks win for me. And with Big Sam reportedly waiting in the wings, its surely a must-win game for Parky.

3 comments:

Ken Jennings said...

A great preview as usual, and I especially have to agree that Fortune's return is significant in our endeavours.
I wholeheartedly second your prediction. An Addicks win.(Even though my pre-season pick on CAFC Picks was a draw).

I am also hoping young Waghorn is on the bench to keep the Seasider's
defence busy for at least the last 15 mins or so. (and maybe even add to our lead :-)

Ken J said...

Forgot about the Loanee limit rule. Doh!

nelson said...

Yes, only 5 of them red ones allowed Ken. We'll just have to reply on Toddy providing our second....