So, you want a Blackpool preview? I did start off with the intention of giving you a kiss me quick puntastic picture postcard romp, but then my fingers hit the keys and you got what follows. Apologies in advance…
It rarely gets much simpler than this until you get into the realms of mathematical impossibility, a win against Blackpool could see Latics out of the bottom three and looking at the stars. Defeat will leave us rock bottom, with a four point gap to safety. Today, Latics fate is in their own hands, it may not be, come tomorrow teatime. I told you that the ‘our season starts here’ line would get hammered up until the fat lady sung, but this is possibly more serious than that.
Maybe our season doesn’t start tomorrow, maybe our season is tomorrow.
That might be unnecessarily dramatic, but as well as being a vital three points for both sides, the trip to Bloomfield Road is a chance to redress the balance. Literally, our season should have started there, but the game was moved, we got caught on the back foot and things went downhill from there. as much as we could debate the significance of that result on both teams’ season, we don’t need to because right now, the only significant thing for Latics and Blackpool is tomorrow’s result.
And that’s not being over dramatic.
I’ve spent years developing a pose of world weary cynicism. The image of a man older than his years washed with the knowledge that nothing so good can last for ever and that it was probably not that good to start off with. A typical Latics fan I suppose, we, like the bullied boy at school who became a comedian to get his adversaries onside, put up this cynical front so that, the next time we get dumped on, it’s easy to pretend that we knew we it was going to happen.
But, it’s as easy to believe the shite as it is the hype and some of us have fallen into the trap that this season has a foregone conclusion. We might blame the manager, the players or our fellow fans, but in the end it comes down to one underlying thing, we don’t think we can do this, because we’re Wigan Athletic and that sort of thing hardly ever happens to us.
Well, I think that it’s probably about time to say, “sod that!”. Cynicism isn’t going to help keep us in this division, it’s not going to help us in any way, we need optimism and belief, we need to keep the faith and hold our heads up high. If our season starts tomorrow then that’s got to mean a fresh start for everyone. The task is far from impossible but we’ve got to set about it together and not fall apart at the first sign of difficulty.
Ok, you’ve probably had enough philosophical bull to keep you going for a while, so what are our chances? The clichés say that Blackpool are in free fall and that Latics are already doomed. The stats say that they’ll score and that they’ll concede, but that we’re fairly tight these days but that we’re not likely to get a bagful of goals. The tangerines have home advantage but given the atmosphere at some games at the DW stadium this season, that could well be an advantage our way.
It’s a hard one to call and logic pushes you the way of a tight game and that’s probably right. But a draw is no good for either team right at this moment and so it will be interesting to see how things progress through the ninety minutes. The key period will be early on where Latics can expect to be under the kosh, if they weather the storm then it’s easy to paint the rest of the contest as one of heart and impulse versus mind and patience. It’s hard to see how, if Latics stick to a plan of playing on the break, we won’t see chances at both ends, so maybe the right word is a “tense” contest rather than a “tight” one.
Which doesn’t bode well, what with my already greying hair, an early start and a day at the seaside it might all get a bit too much for your faithful correspondent. Hopefully I’ll survive until Sunday when, no doubt we’ll be starting all over again.
Until then, have fun, but eat rock responsibly and don’t get stuck by the tides.
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