Fleetwood Town host local rivals Blackpool FC in Sky Bet League One action on Wednesday night, and in this preview, we have everything you need to know about this highly-anticipated clash.
Fixture: Fleetwood Town v Blackpool FC
Competition: Sky Bet League One
Date: Wednesday 1 November 2023
Kick-Off: 19:45 (BST)
Venue: Highbury Stadium, Fleetwood, Park Avenue, FY7 6SP
Neil Critchley is in his second spell in charge of the Tangerines since leaving in 2022 for Aston Villa and most recently, Queens Park Rangers. The former Liverpool Academy coach is now looking for his second promotion with the Seasiders after beating Lincoln 2-1 at Wembley back in May 2021.
His side have a higher points per match average [ppm] of 1.68 in comparison to his first stint in charge of a 1.55 ppm - in Critchley’s first spell, promotion was on the cards for Fleetwood’s Fylde Coast neighbours.
The Tangerines were enjoying a decent spell of form in October as they turned their fortunes around after their 3-1 loss to Derby County at the start of the month. With three wins, two draws and the month ended with a 4-2 loss at home to Peterborough United last time out, the Seasiders currently sit in a healthy 7th, three points behind Stevenage who occupy the final Play-Off place.
Jordan Rhodes is the one to watch for Blackpool as the on-loan Huddersfield Town man is the joint-second highest goal scorer in the division with nine goals, two via the penalty spot. Critchley will have to switch up at the other end of the pitch however, as centre-back Oliver Casey faces suspension after being sent off last weekend.
THOSE WHO HAVE PLAYED FOR BOTH
There has been a few players that have kept themselves in the Fylde Coast playing for both Fleetwood and Blackpool at different levels of their respected careers, here we look at the overview of a select few.
Jamie Milligan: Town great Milligan is fondly remembered at Highbury as he was the composer of some great memories for the Cod Army in more then 200 appearances for the club over nine years: that ‘goal’ that never stood against Farsley Celtic, the late penalty against Yeovil and ‘Milly’ was integral in Fleetwood’s promotions from the North West Counties and upwards in the pyramid. Milligan spent two years at Blackpool after being a product of Everton’s academy but will always be associated with his Town at Highbury.
Bobby Grant: With a lethal left foot, Grant gained cult-hero status at Fleetwood since signing from Blackpool on a permanent signing (after being loaned originally). Grant only made seven appearances for Blackpool, but 139 appearances later for the Cods with 24 goals scored - the Liverpool-born midfielder has a fine catalogue of goals for Fleetwood with many emphatic strikes from outside the box his trademark, including one from his own half against Southport in 2016.
Ben Heneghan: Current Cod Heneghan has only played six games for Town so far since signing in September of this year, but some impressive performances so far has earned the ex-Blackpool man the nickname ‘Big Ben’ at Highbury - Heneghan played 80 times down the road at Bloomfield and in that time played for the Seasiders at Highbury in a 0-0 draw - here’s hoping Heneghan is on the winning side this side for Town.
There are many others who have played for both Clubs... Can you name them all?
THE GAFFER’S THOUGHTS AHEAD OF THE GAME
“I think the team will firstly need to have the emotional control it’s so important because we know Blackpool are a good side but for us it’s about what we do at home as we’ll need to control as much as the tempo as we can and start positively, that means not taking the first punch on the nose and conceding first, we have done that on too many occasions at home.
“Blackpool are similar to Barnsley who we last played in the sense where you expect them to be up there and in and around the top but for us it’s just an opportunity to get three points and we’re going to fight them really, really hard.
“We’re going to have a good atmosphere, the fans will be frustrated with our home form but certainly no-one has turned against us, we need to make that ground a fortress, this game is a perfect opportunity, a catalyst almost to do that.”
WATCH THE FULL PRE-MATCH PRESS CONFERENCE WITH LEE JOHNSON HERE!
IFOLLOW PASSES AVAILABLE FOR WEDNESDAY NIGHT
If you can’t make it to Highbury on the off chance on Wednesday evening, you can watch – or listen to - the game on our iFollow, with two matchday packages available for our UK-based and overseas supporters:
Video Match Pass - £10.00 (available for all)
Audio Match Pass - £2.50 (available for all)
Those who choose the Video Match Pass option will get access to the commentary and the full match, which will be provided by our partners, BBC Radio Lancashire, with the Audio Match Pass including just the commentary of the whole game.
Season passes are available with audio passes for only £45 for the season, for all UK-based members of the Cod Army! You can find more details by heading over to our iFollow page.
FULL TICKETING DETAILS
With firework night on the horizon, the first show in November will be at Highbury on Wednesday night against the Seasiders.
Lee Johnson’s side ready to take on another big boy in the division, the Cods need you, the Cod Army, in the stands or supporting elsewhere for this one.
The club will like to remind supporters that tickets will ONLY be available for supporters who already have an account on our Ticketmaster site.
If you have already purchased a season ticket this season, you will already have an account on our new ticketing system on there.