Match Preview – Blackpool v Brighton

Those choruses of “We’re Brighton n’Hove Albion, we’re top of the league” that were doing the rounds at The Den five games ago seem like a lifetime away. We haven’t won since hitting top spot and have added just one goal to the for column in that time. It doesn’t get any easier this Saturday with a trip to Blackpool. Let’s pray for a goal as heaven forbid if Gus Poyet ends up bored at another match again – let alone those Albion fans who are making the long trip to Bloomfield Road.

Who are Blackpool?
Another rags-to-riches side who went from bottom division to top in nine years without spending any sort of money at all. Indeed, when they got promoted to the Premier League their stadium only had two proper stands. Back in the day – and we mean way back when Stanley Matthews was pulling the strings – they were a force in English football but realistically the town is better known for its Eiffel Tower rip-off and riding donkeys on the beach than Ian Holloway’s Tangerine Army.

What’s the Albion’s record like against them?
Being in the grim north, our meetings with Blackpool have been pretty infrequent with the sides meeting just 24 times, all in the league. The Tangerines just shave it with nine wins to eight and seven draws between the two. Brighton don’t have a win in the fixture since Steve Coppell’s last match in charge when Chris McPhee continued his red-hot form with two goals in a 3-0 win.

What happened last time we met?
Brighton were unbeaten in the league in 2012 when they arrived on the Lancashire Coast for a massive match in the battle for the top six. After taking the lead, it was all downhill as we ended up on the wrong end of a disappointing 3-1 defeat in which Jara Reyes ended up seeing red. Still, it was a nice weekend away even if it signalled the beginning of the end of the play-off dream.

A memorable game that happened at Blackpool?
Petrol crisis, what petrol crisis? With Britain set to be totally gridlocked by the petrol blockades, 350 Albion fans still managed to make it all the way to Blackpool on a Tuesday night to see Micky Adams promotion charges win 2-0 through goals from Gary Hart and Paul Rogers.

Who has played for both clubs?
Yet-to-convince striker Stephen Dobbie has had two loan spells with the Tangerines and was all set to move their permanently before Poyet made the move on transfer deadline day to bring him south – with the striker even jumping in a light aircraft from Blackpool to come and discuss personal terms. Let’s hope he fairs better than another ex-Pool striker to move south in the form of Liam “Phone in sick after a night on West Street” Dickinson

Who are the players to look out for?
Thomas Ince, son of Paul, has been tearing up the league somewhat so far this season as well as impressing for England under-21s. Matt Gilks is such an impressive keeper that he kept Richard Kingson out of the side in the Premier League while there is that wily old fox Kevin Phillips to contend with who made a nasty habit out of scoring against the Seagulls last season.

What do the bookies reckon?
Blackpool are somewhat surprisingly marginal favorites for this one despite the Albion’s barren run. Blackpool are 7/1 to win 1-0, which is surely the best bet given the pattern of recent games. If you fancy a nice bit of fate to take place, Dobbie to break his duck against his former side is 12/5 to happen at any time.

Prediction?
We surely can’t go another game without scoring but it’s a tough place to go and given the current rut, it’s hard to see a win. 2-1 to Blackpool and hopefully that won’t bore Mr Poyet too much

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