The Opposition View - Blackpool
1. What are your expectations for the season?
After the calamity that was last year, losing two managers and going from title candidates to relegation fodder, fans would be happy with a little bit of stability. We lost so many players in the summer (a lot of the squad that won us promotion to the Premier League) I think most of us are not expecting anything amazing. We have made some shrewd signings but we are still desperately short of numbers. If we can add three or four more and keep hold of Tom Ince anything is possible, including that much hallowed last play-off place.
2. Who are the key players to look out for?
At the moment, we don`t have too many! Ince Jnr is injured, as is Matt Phillips (our other flying winger). Our success so far this season has been based on teamwork and being very difficult to beat - everyone putting in a shift. Michael Chopra has looked impressive off the bench but still isn`t match fit and we haven`t seen anything of Ricardo Fuller yet (although I hear Charlton were loathed to lose him). If I had to pick one star performer, it has to be Barry Ferguson, his experience and ball retention has been key to our good start - he is top drawer.
3. Paul Ince was a surprise choice as manager, but has made a good start at Blackpool hasn`t he?
He has indeed, I was as skeptic as most fans when he was appointed, (he seemed to be about our fifth choice) but he has done wonders after inheriting the sinking ship of last season. Make no mistake, we were going down until he turned up. His league record since taking over has been pretty darn good (bearing in mind we were in a right mess).
Played 17, Won 6, Drawn 8, Lost 3
4. What are you still expecting from Blackpool in the final weeks of the transfer market?
With our chairman I`m sure it will come down to last-minute shopping from the bargain bin and trying to get a couple of decent long-term loans. We desperately need a creative midfielder and a right-back, so they are priority targets. Keeping hold of Tom Ince would also be a positive.
5. If you could take any Reading player at the moment, who would it be and why?
Probably sounds unusual picking a full-back, but when you see Kirk Broadfoot play (who is pretty decent at centre-half but very bad at right-back) on Saturday you will understand why we need a Chris Gunter or Stephen Kelly figure pretty sharpish! Wouldn`t say no to Royston Drenthe either, I thought he was pretty impressive for Everton the season before last.
6. What starting XI and shape do you expect to see this Saturday?
We played five defensive midfielders away to Middlesbrough but I cannot see Ince picking that team at home, so we might see a change or two. I would expect a 4-2-1-3 or 4-3-3 - Gilks, Broadfoot, Cathcart, McKenzie, Robinson, Ferguson, Angel, Basham, Delfouneso, Davies, Grant with Fuller and Chopra to add firepower from the bench.
7. What is your prediction for the game?
It is fair to say this is a pretty big game for us - so far we haven`t played anyone who we would expect to be challenging for promotion this season. Reading have some decent players who will provide an acid test for our new look side. I will go for a cagey 1-1 draw - the days of seven goal thrillers under Holloway are long gone!