Midweek action sees Mark Robins’ side take the trip to Bloomfield Road tonight to face Blackpool.
Name: Blackpool Football Club
Nicknames: The Seasiders
Stadium: Bloomfield Road
Address: Bloomfield Road, Seasiders Way, Blackpool, FY1 6JJ
Pitch dimensions: 112 x 74 yards
Blackpool returned to the Championship after a six-year absence when they won the League One Play-off Final back in May, defeating Lincoln City 2-1. Having finished third over the course of the league season, Blackpool overcame Oxford in the play-off semi-finals before two goals from Kenny Dougall sealed victory for The Seasiders at Wembley.
Manager Neil Critchley has made a series of signings to prepare for life in the second tier over the course of the summer, such as the arrival of Richard Keogh to provide previous Championship experience. The signings of Josh Bowler, Reece James, Daniel Grimshaw, Shayne Lavery, Callum Connolly, Oliver Casey, Sonny Carey and Tyreece John-Jules have also further bolstered Blackpool’s squad.
Among the new arrivals, former Linfield striker Shayne Lavery has bagged two goals in three games for his new club, the 22-year-old scoring a late equaliser against Bristol City on the opening weekend before scoring against Middlesbrough in his side’s 3-0 Carabao Cup win. Most recently, Blackpool fell to defeat at home to Cardiff City last Saturday, as goals from Leandro Bacuna and Kieffer Moore led Blackpool to a 2-0 loss.
Following six years at Liverpool’s Academy, starting with Liverpool U18s before progressing to the U23s, Neil Critchley left the Merseyside club to join Blackpool in March 2020.
During his time at Liverpool, Critchley also took charge of the first team on two occasions, overseeing a Carabao Cup tie at Aston Villa and an FA Cup fourth-round replay against Shrewsbury Town.
Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, Critchley’s first season at his new club was curtailed with Blackpool finishing in 13th position, however a first full season at the club saw Critchley lead The Seasiders to third place, before guiding his side to play-off victory.
Last Six Games:
Lost – Blackpool 0-1 Burnley – Friendly
Drew – Morecambe 1-1 Blackpool – Friendly
Lost – Manchester City 4-1 Blackpool – Friendly
Drew – Bristol City 1-1 Blackpool – SkyBet Championship
Won – Blackpool 3-0 Middlesbrough – Carabao Cup
Lost – Blackpool 0-2 Cardiff City – SkyBet Championship
Last Time We Met:
Back in September 2019, two goals from Sullay Kaikai put Blackpool in the driving seat of the contest, however the Sky Blues valiantly fought back to restore parity before half-time as Matt Godden and Wesley Jobello’s quickfire goals ensured both teams go into the break at 2-2.
After a succession of second-half chances, Callum O’Hare left it late to earn the three points for the Sky Blues with his injury-time winner completing the comeback.
How many names can you remember from the Sky Blues’ side from that day? Have a go at testing your knowledge by clicking HERE.
Club Connection: Gary Madine
Current Blackpool striker Gary Madine represented the Sky Blues in two separate loan spells, joining in 2009 from Carlisle and again in 2014 from Sheffield Wednesday.
Having progressed through the youth ranks of Carlisle, Madine joined Sheffield Wednesday in 2011, where he would go on to earn an EFL League One runners-up medal at the conclusion of his first season at the club. During his four years at Sheffield Wednesday, Madine was sent out on loan three times, two of which were with Coventry and Blackpool.
Madine has plenty of experience in helping guide his teams to success, earning his second League One promotion with Bolton Wanderers in 2017, before two successive promotions to the Premier League with Cardiff City and then Sheffield United.
The striker re-joined Blackpool in January 2020 for his second spell at the club, as part of last season’s promotion-winning squad.
Andy Woolmer has been appointed referee for the game, while Woolmer will be assisted by Nick Greenhalgh and Mark Dwyer as Paul Marsden will act as the fourth official. Click HERE for more details.