Sunderland travel to Bloomfield Road for the first time in God knows how long, looking to get things back on track after a crazy few weeks, culminating in Darren Bent leaving for Aston Villa. Who needs him anyway?
SAFC Team News
Having lost at home to Notts County, followed up with a poor performance in the scrappy draw with Newcastle, it feels like ages since we last saw the lads in red and white produce a solid performance, which is exactly what we’ll need to overcome a Blackpool team full of goals and confidence.
Craig Gordon will start in goal as per usual. I expect to see a back four line-up of Onouha at right-back, Bardsley at left-back, and Anton Ferdinand partnering Titus Bramble in the middle. There’s always the option of Kieran Richardson in there, but personally I feel Ned & Bardinho are stronger.
Midfield looks like becoming five instead of the usual four following the departure of you-know-who. With all the transfer talk, injury news has been pretty hard to come by. Who knows if the likes of Cattermole are going to be back? Physioroom.com predicts he will be back this weekend, but they aren’t the most reliable of websites.
Either way, we can say for certain it's going to be five in there. Elmohamady, Henderson, Steed Malbranque & Kieran Richardson will no doubt keep their places, leaving Brucey with the conundrum of who is the fifth? Riveros given a chance? Andy Reid is back from Sheffield United, and young Jack Colback is back from Ipswich. All three have been on bench-warming duty in recent weeks. I can see it being Reid who gets the nod. Line Reid up on the left, and hope that we get to see his much fabled 'good delivery' whilst Steed operates in a freer more central role behind Asamoah Gyan.
Gyan will of course be up front. On his own. Well there's not much else we can do is there?
No, I can't see any signings which may be made prior to kick-off being included at this late stage.
Bruce's Probable Team:
Gordon; Onouha, Ferdinand, Bramble, Bardsley; Elmohamady, Henderson, Richardson, Reid, Malbranque; Gyan
Gordon; Onouha, Ferdinand, Bramble, Bardsley; Elmohamady, Henderson, Riveros, Reid, Malbranque; Gyan
From the Blackpool side:
Blackpool's only real injury concerns are the long-term absentees Marlon Harewood and goalkeeper Matt Gilks.
Ian Holloway has also laid to rest fear that this could be Charlie Adam's swan-song for The Tangerines, slapping an astonishing £30m+ price-tag on the Scotsman.
Blackpool lost last time out against West Brom in a widely open game, and whilst they've beaten the likes of Liverpool on home soil, they have been got at, notably by Birmingham.
We can be sure that they will come at us, in a 4-3-3 line-up similar to what we saw at the SoL, if not exactly the same personnel. We didn't pay much attention to DJ Campbell that day, so I really hope we've learned from that mistake as he simply can't stop scoring against us.
I actually think its a good thing we're going 4-5-1 in this one. We were carved open far too easily in December. Yes, we made enough chances then to win several games, but 90% of the 'Shots On Target' were weak as piss. I'm hoping for better this weekend.
I read somewhere recently that there have been over 2.5 goals in every Blackpool home match this season, so we should expect goals in this one.
I'm hoping we can escape a with a win, I really am, but if I was offered a draw now, I'd take it. Bloomfield Road isn't an easy place to go, and better teams than us have come unstuck.
1-1, Asamoah Gyan's early strike cancelled out before half-time by who else but DJ Campbell.
Enjoy the game everyone!
Don't forget to check back on Roker Report for a full Match Report as well as the views of Blackpool fan John Campbell in Fan Focus!