Ian Evatt is relishing a Bloomfield Road return as he looks to maintain Wanderers’ grip on the Bristol Street Motors Trophy, writes Pete Oliver.
Evatt spent seven years as a player at Blackpool, helping the Seasiders to two promotions and a place in the Premier League for the first time in their history with a play-off final win in 2011.
The Tangerines therefore retain a special place in Evatt’s affections, but the former defender will be doing everything he can to deny them the prospect of another trip to Wembley when his Wanderers’ side faces Blackpool in their Trophy quarter-final tie tonight (Tuesday).
“I hold that football club in the highest regard,” said the Whites’ boss. “I think it’s a brilliant football club and I had lots of good times and moments and memories there but it’s a game I want to win and we want to win as a football club.
“I haven’t been back at all and I'm looking forward to going back and seeing some old faces, friendly faces. It was a magical time in my career and Blackpool's history but there will be nobody more than me wanting to win tonight.
“We know the league is really important but, as I've said many times this season, we also want to be the first team to retain this trophy and we'll give it our best shot.”
Wanderers make the trip to the seaside on the back of six wins in their last seven league games to sit second in the League One table.
Blackpool are six places further back as they seek an instant return to the Championship but have matched the Whites 10 home league wins this season, as well as beating Barnsley and Burton at Bloomfield Road to reach the last eight of the Trophy.
Both sides have won the competition twice before, with Wanderers hoping they’re the ones still on course for a hat-trick – and back-to-back successes – if they can repeat the home league win they enjoyed against Neil Critchley’s side in November.
“I think everyone on the outside would say this is the tie of the round,” added Evatt, who will have new loan signings Calvin Ramsay and Nathanael Ogbeta and midfielder George Thomason – the match-winner at the Toughsheet Community Stadium who is currently serving a two-game League One suspension – available.
“I would say it's a really difficult game for both teams. Blackpool is always a tough place to go. They have the best home record, other than us, this season so it's a real challenge for us.
“But we're excited by it and we know if we want to get to cup finals and be successful this season we're going to have to play the best teams and play them away from home, so it's a great task and challenge for us and one we're looking forward to.”
Supporters are reminded that tonight’s tie kicks-off at 7pm. Wanderers have again sold out their away ticket allocation but the match can be watched live via Wanderers TV, with details of how to buy a £10 match pass HERE