Premier League Preview: Blackpool

A quiet summer in Blackpool in terms of transfers, but it definitely wasn’t a quiet summer in Blackpool for football in general. After beating Cardiff in the play-off final in May, Blackpool are back in the top flight of English football since 1992. Getting promoted, though, is a lot easier than staying up.

            With only 21 first team players on their books, Ian Holloway’s side have got by far the smallest squad in the Premier League. The summer has been full of rumours rather than actual transfers for the Seasiders, with Derby’s Rob Hulse and Swansea’s Angel Rangel the latest to be linked with a move to Bloomfield Road. The fact that Blackpool have retained the majority of their successful Championship squad does work in their favour, though, with Hameur Bouazza the only name of significance to leave the side, going French side Arles-Avignon on a free transfer. When you look at the Blackpool squad, though, you become filled with nothing but worry.
            The Tangerines’ squad is full of ex-Premier League players, such as Paul Rachubka in goal, Jason Euell in midfield and Brett Ormerod in attack, which boasts well in terms of experience. However, these are players that took a step down from the top league because they were not good enough for the Premier League anymore. The fact that Gary Taylor-Fletcher is considered one of their best strikers tells a story on its own; the forward is more suited to the Football League having spent the majority of his career at clubs such as Leyton Orient, Hartlepool and Lincoln City.
            One plus-point for Blackpool, though, is that, in their squad, they include young Welsh right-back Neal Eardley. The former Oldham defender may struggle in the Premier League having been brought up in the lower leagues, but he shows good promise and is definitely one to look out for this coming season.
            Rumours suggest that Holloway is currently looking at bringing in former Aston Villa and West Ham striker Marlon Harewood, who was released by Villa at the end of last season. This is exactly the sort of signing that the club needs as goals are going to be extremely hard to come by.
            The quality of Charlie Adam makes the midfielder imperative to Blackpool’s success this season. The former Rangers player starred in the victorious play-off final where the ‘Pool beat Cardiff 3-2, with Adam scoring a free-kick in that game. He could well be the creative spark that Blackpool need to steer them clear of the relegation zone. One would think, though, that they would need more than a spark to guide them away from that fate.
Where will they finish?: 20th
Official relegation odds: 1/3 (Paddy Power)
Star man: Charlie Adam
One to watch: Neal Eardley
Main weakness: Lack of Premier League quality

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