Vital Reading season preview
Ground: Bloomfield Road (Capacity: 17,338)
When we face off: Sat 25th October (H), Mon 6th April (A)
Last season finish: 20th – Championship
Manager: Jose Riga – Despite the Belgian doing a very good job at Charlton last season, getting them out of relegation trouble and surviving fairly comfortably, his contract at the Valley wasn’t extended. Blackpool therefore took the opportunity to snap the former Standard Leige coach up as their new manager, following the departure of Barry Ferguson. There has been speculation about his future already, due to reported disagreements with owner Karl Oysten, but appears set to stay for the time being.
Key player: Tom Barkhuizen – There are not many to choose from at the moment, but he is one player that is likely to benefit from a lack of squad competition. After two good loan spells away in previous years, the 21-year burst onto the scene for the Tangerines last year, scoring his first goal against us in a 1-0 victory for the Seasiders. Barkhuizen appears to have good potential and if given the chance, could express himself this year.
Season Preview: As I write this, Blackpool currently have just eight first team players – not ideal. Chairman Karl Oysten is getting heat from Blackpool supporters over the lack of signings, but has vowed new signings will be made very soon. I do worry for Blackpool this season, not just because of their current lack of players, but the fact the incoming players would not have had a full pre-season and would not have played together very much. I have a feeling it could be a season of struggle for them.