Wigan v Blackpool Preview
By Editor
Monday 12 Feb 2018 12:26:00
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If you want an example of how difficult Gary Bowyer's task will be to keep the Seasiders in this league next season, of his side's remaining 15 games, 'Pool still have to play 7 of the top 8 League One sides. They have four key games to win; Northampton (h), MK Dons (a), Oldham (a) and Fleetwood (h) and then face four other sides who will probably have little to play for by the time we get to March. When you look back the games against AFC Wimbledon, Bury and Walsall should have inspired at least one victory but just 2 points from 9 has left Blackpool in an increasingly precarious place. Maybe, it's not a bad time then to go to a place where nothing is expected of them and any sort of result will be considered a bonus. However, considering the 3-1 defeat inflicted on them at Bloomfield Road earlier in the season, Jose Mourinho's 'Football Gods' may well be conspiring against them with this fixture.

That defeat to Wigan started a decline for the Seasiders which has seen them win just 2 games, draw 7 and lose 9. 13 points from a possible 54. With just 15 games to go, they need a minimum of a point a game and it's tough to see where those are going to come from. With Portsmouth away at the end of the month, you'd not expect much from either game on the road. Peterborough at home could be a chance to add to the 35 points the team has already won but Posh are doing OK this season and pushing for a Play Off place in 9th place. You'd say Rochdale and Bury have one foot in League Two already and then it's a toss up between 8 clubs with two of them joining the Lancashire clubs. In the current form tables, MK Dons and Oldham are on a worse run than Blackpool whilst Fleetwood and AFC Wimbledon aren't faring much better. Despite struggling to win a game, 'Pool are drawing more than they're losing and another point at the DW Stadium would be considered a massive point gained.

Whilst there have been calls for Bowyer to utilise more of his 'strike force' (#irony), there seems little point in changing his formation and thus stick with the same starting XI he's played in the last two games. Whilst Ollie Turton has done well this season, putting a right sided player at left back was exposed on Saturday, and the question is do you stick Colin Daniel back in who can operate there or stick with Turton who is arguably the better player. Clark Robertson needs to be alert for 90 minutes after his two gaffs lead to two goals in the last couple of games and it's interesting since his move to Bradford fell through how Kelvin Mellor has disappointed - as Wigan were one of those clubs interested in him, he may be out to impress. Vassell looked better on Saturday but two games in four games may take it's toll whilst Dan Agyei looked decent when he came on. Wigan will be bruised after a 3-1 defeat at Southend on Saturday and next week's FA Cup game against Manchester City may well be playing on their minds.

It's worth remembering that whilst Blackpool had one of their most spectacular days at Wigan just 8 years ago that 12 months ago these two sides were two leagues apart. Not much has changed in either side in that time and so little surprise the respective clubs are where they are. Whilst behind the scenes wranglings continue at both Lancashire sides, on the pitch the battle for points could result in very different consequences come the end of the season.

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