Opposition watch: Blackpool

The low-down on Saturday's FA Cup opponents from Bloomfield Road

With Blackpool having taken on the role of gate crashers the last time these two sides met at the Reebok, Wanderers will be hoping to gain revenge for last season’s final day heartbreak in this weekend’s FA Cup clash.

On a day which saw Wanderers held to a 2-2 draw by the Seasiders and miss out on a place in the play-offs on goal difference, Saturday’s cup clash will certainly have more than just progression to the fourth round of the competition up for grabs.

A game in which both sets of fans will be keen to secure local bragging rights given the proximity of the teams – just 40 miles separates the two sides – Blackpool head to BL6 this weekend having not won since November 30 when they emerged victorious over Sheffield Wednesday.

Currently residing in 12th position in the league standings with 32 points accumulated from their 24 games, Paul Ince’s side’s drop in form of late has left their supporters unsettled ahead of what looks set to be a testing second half to the season.

Having started the campaign impressively, six defeats in their last seven outings including one against the Owls last time out have raised doubts over the Tangerines’ consistency and consequently their chances of gaining promotion this term.

After finishing last season in a disappointing 15th position following a year of upheaval for the club which saw three different managers at the helm, the signs had been promising during the opening weeks of the season that the club could make a return to the top flight after a three year exodus.

With results in recent weeks however dampening the spirits around Bloomfield Road, Ince and his players will no doubt look at Saturday’s cup clash as an opportunity to put their league exploits to one side and pick up a much needed confidence boost.

Goals have certainly been a problem of late for the Seasiders, with just three strikes in their last eight outings – one of which came from the club’s leading goalscorer Tom Ince.

A highly rated prospect who was touted to move onto pastures new last summer, the young winger started the season in red hot form with six goals before the end of October but has since struggled to replicate his efforts in front of goal in line with Blackpool’s recent on-field problems.

With Wanderers entering the clash themselves looking to record their first win of the calendar year on home soil, Saturday’s cup clash looks set to be a cracker.

William Watt – Blackpool reporter for the Blackpool Gazette

A break from the Championship couldn't have come at a better time for the Seasiders.

Blackpool are on a poor run of form at the moment which has seen the club lose six of their last seven games.

Morale isn't particularly high at the moment and some fans have already turned on boss Paul Ince.

With all this in mind, a break from league action, away from home, is probably the perfect game for Ince and his players.

With the pressure off it will be interesting to see if they can get back to winning ways.

Blackpool's season has been strange to say the least - Ince's men started like a house on fire, sitting top of the division after six games following the best start in the club's history.

Since then there's been a turn in fortunes, but they'll be hoping to turn it around against Bolton.

Prediction: Bolton 1 Blackpool 1
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