The past three games had represented an opportunity to close the gap between ourselves and the play-offs, having picked up just one point from a possible nine, the bottom four is now nearly as close as the top six is. With a game forthcoming against a side level on points with us in this mid-table limbo we find ourselves in, this could represent a pivotal point in the season. Win, and we can perhaps set our sights back on the top six, lose, and the comfort zone between the relegation zone is going to be further shaved down.
Despite the failure to win the past three games, it is unlikely, nor is there much need, for Mark Robins to change things up. There was little wrong with the performance against Plymouth last week, other than the failure to put the ball in the back of the net. Without any new strikers having been signed over the past week, there’s not a lot else Robins can do other than to hope our forwards find a clinical touch this time out.
There was a key tactical shift last week, with Bright Enobakhare moved into a central position, Jordy Hiwula shifted onto the left and Conor Chaplin enabled to play on the shoulder of the opposing defence. It not only brought the best out of Enobakhare’s skill-set, but it allowed Conor Chaplin to get into more dangerous goalscoring positions than he’s previously been able to do.
The return of Dujon Sterling after his absence last week – once again, the club choosing not to disclose the exact reason why players are dropping out of the side – will be most welcome. While Jack Grimmer is not a particularly poor right-back, Sterling immediately improves the side with his presence and has become especially key in the creating of chances over the past couple of months.
Last Time We Met
Our last meeting with Blackpool has become the yard-stick against which poor performances this season are measured. Most notably, this was the game where Amadou Bakayoko demonstrated his lack of knowledge of the existence of the offside law, killing several promising attacking situations in a frustrating manner. Blackpool eventually capitalised on the torpor that had descended over the side over the course of the game, taking the lead, and then doubling it when Liam O’Brien went walkies to allow Joe Dodoo to score the easiest of goals.