Blackpool will be looking to build on an impressive 2-1 away victory at Burton Albion at the weekend as Wigan Athletic come to Bloomfield Road. The Latics sit 21st place in the League One table following a fairly poor start to the season and the Seasiders will be hoping for get consecutive victories for the first time this season.
We have a real chance here to build some positive momentum and belief that we are on to something. Wigan are in a pretty lowly place and, given the reaction to our win at the weekend, you have to think spirits are high in our dressing room ahead of this one. It is another fixture that we ought to be winning if we have any aspirations of making this season anything other than a relegation battle and I fully expect us to make it count.
Against Burton we dominated large spells of the game but, unlike many other fixtures before, this amounted to more than just possession for possession’s sake and instead saw us be fluid and dangerous in attacking areas. The ability of our attacking four to interchange positions on command benefitted us greatly in opening up half spaces and areas to drive into in the final third. Kenny Dougall’s decisive, positive passing play had a hell of a lot to do with this as well.
This season has seen us chop and change more than any of us would like. Whether that be through injury, suspensions or just simply changing to find what works. However, Saturday saw the first building blocks of a solid setup and I think we should remain unchanged for Tuesday’s fixture in order to help breed confidence in the different link ups within the side.
Now that Sullay Kaikai and Jerry Yates seem to have built up chemistry on the field it is vital that we continue to make use of that. The same can be said for Kenny Dougall and Gary Madine, or Kenny Dougall and MJ Williams and quite frankly Kenny Dougall and every single footballer in this side because he is that much of a key link.
Daniel Gretarsson and Marvin Ekpiteta had a solid start to life together at the back and, as much as I would put Dan Ballard straight back in for Gretarsson when he returns, longer term it is nice that we have that defined competition in the centre back spot.
With all that in mind for me the side that played against Burton, with that balance, offers the perfect recipe to defeat a Wigan side who have looked impotent in front of goal with no victories in their last five games and an expected goals stat of just 0.76xg this season compared to Blackpool’s far superior 1.38xg. This shows the Seasiders are creating a lot more opportunities and now we’ve seen the rewards in the attacking areas, this is the perfect successive fixture to the weekend.
Comparing our starts
With both sides having played 10 League One fixtures this season, we both have had pretty uninspiring starts. Having said that, Blackpool have to be optimistic not only off the back of the weekend’s result but also looking at what Wigan have to offer on Tuesday.
Wigan have failed to score in 80% of their away matches so far this season, that’s once in five games with their early season win away at Portsmouth the one outlier. They were convincingly beaten 3-0 away at Crewe, a side we dominated for large spells of the game and were unfortunate to not come away with all three points. Whilst also more recently losing 2-0 away at MK Dons in their last away outing, again a side who we dominated in our 1-0 home victory.
Quite honestly, looking at the data for Wigan and having watched over the highlights from a few of their games, their complete lack of organisation will allow us to take more risks. Knowing that more than likely they will need four or five attempts before they punish us, gives us that confidence to play with more of a freedom and if that fluidity is evident at the back then it will only feed through the team as a whole. They have only lost by the odd goal in most games but it goes to show how much the lack of cutting edge is costing them.
Wigan haven’t kept a clean sheet away from home so far this season, conceding an average of 1.8 goals away from DW Stadium, although our home record isn’t much better on that front conceding 1.6 goals on average. The Lincoln 3-2 defeat and Ipswich 4-1 the obvious outliers that have pumped that record up.
This is a game that we should and must win. It’s as simple as that. Wigan are as close to what you would describe as ‘cannon fodder’ as you are going to get and, with the confidence pumping from the weekend, we have to start with a real intent to dismantle a side that have shipped a lot of goals away from home.
As I previously mentioned I would go into this game unchanged, we can match Wigan up in each position especially when they don’t offer much pace on an attacking front. This was the one concern leading out of the Burton game, Ennis and Vernam for Burton both troubled our full backs with pure direct pace in different stages of the game, but without any real threat of that I am not overly concerned.
The Seasiders should come out of this unscathed and it is a perfect opportunity to get our attacking numbers up and breed real confidence in the side. We have a favourable next few games before the real tests come against Peterborough and Doncaster so to go into those with a few good wins under our belt will do the world of good.
Sean’s Lineup vs Wigan
Sean’s Prediction: Blackpool 3-0 Wigan (Yates x2, Kaikai)
Key Player: Kenny Dougall
What are your thoughts going into the game? Let us know in the comments below.
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Stats provided by: Footy Stats