The tricky former Everton winger Bristol City will have to be wary of for Blackpool clash
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The Robins have back-to-back wins in the Championship and are into the next round of the Carabao Cup after defeating Wycombe Wanderers in what was a positive night for the club with two academy players on the score sheet.
Optimism is beginning to grow after a slow start to the season and there is a hope that can be continued when the City players make their way up for the Bank Holiday weekend.
Blackpool had a good start last season but their play-off push faltered and earlier this summer, Neil Critchley departed to become assistant to Steven Gerrard at Aston Villa, which shocked the Championship.
Michael Appleton is back at the helm now with the Tangerines sitting in the top 12, having won and lost two matches apiece, as well as a draw, which came last week in a six-goal thriller with rivals Burnley.
To get more of an idea of the opposition, we spoke to the Blackpool Gazette’s Blackpool FC reporter Matt Scrafton, to answer our questions ahead of Saturday’s clash.
What are Blackpool’s key strengths and weaknesses?
I think it’s too early to say on that front really, because we’re still getting used to Michael Appleton’s style and he’s been forced to change things around a little bit recently due to injuries, especially in midfield where they’re light. Blackpool have plenty of character and fight about them, as we saw last week when they came back from 3-1 down to draw 3-3 with Burnley (and they probably should have won).
But Appleton is also trying to implement more of a possession-based approach which will take time, but the recent signs have been good. In terms of a weakness, they’ve struggled for goals and do lack quality in the forward areas, but having scored three against Burnley, where they created plenty of other chances, they should be full of confidence on that front.
How do you expect Blackpool to line up against Bristol City?
Grimshaw, Gabriel, Ekpiteta, Williams, Thompson, Connolly, Dougall, Virtue, Bowler, Lavery, Yates
Michael Appleton is in charge again, replacing Neil Critchley, how different are things under the current boss?
Critchley was all about out of possession, remaining disciplined and keeping to a certain shape and structure. Blackpool still have that but Appleton wants his team to play out a bit more and control games with the ball as well. It will take time but in the last three games we’ve seen plenty of promising signs.
Which player should City be the most wary of?
Josh Bowler. He’s the star of the team and the main man when it comes to creating something out of nothing in attack. He’s a throwback winger in some ways, he loves to dribble with the ball glued to his feet and he’s able to waltz past two or three defenders almost as if they’re not there. With intense speculation around his future ahead of deadline day, there’s a fear this could be Bowler’s last game in a Blackpool shirt. Fingers crossed it’s not, because he’s a special talent that only come around once every 10 years or so.