MX23RW : Friday, July 30 10:14:33| >> :60:2876:2876:
May 21, 2021 at 7.45pm UK at Bloomfield Road (Blackpool, Lancashire)
Oxford UtdOxford United
Embleton (11'), Dougall (13'), Yates (54')
Maxwell (40'), Stewart (65'), Turton (90+2')
FT(HT: 2-1)
Taylor (7'), Atkinson (52'), Shodipo (74')
Brannagan (12'), Taylor (55'), Sykes (90+5')

Preview: Blackpool vs. Oxford United - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Friday's League One clash between Blackpool and Oxford United, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Blackpool head into the second leg of their League One playoff semi-final with Oxford United already on the brink of reaching the final later this month.

The Tangerines recorded a 3-0 victory in Tuesday's first leg, leaving their opponents requiring a near-miracle to remain competitive at Bloomfield Road.

Match preview

Blackpool's Ellis Simms celebrates scoring their second goal against Oxford United in the League One playoffs on May 18, 2021© Reuters

Ahead of a tie between two teams in form, many people were expecting small margins to decide which of Blackpool or Oxford would earn a place at Wembley Stadium.

However, the former made a mockery of the pre-match predictions on Tuesday night, emerging as 3-0 victors after a ruthless performance at the Kassam Stadium.

While Ellis Simms's double stood out, Neil Critchley refused to single anyone out after their fifth successive triumph in the third tier.

Blackpool have also gone 487 minutes of football without conceding a goal, the most important statistic ahead of looking to avoid shipping three strikes on Friday night.

Simms, who is on loan from Everton, has now contributed 10 goals from 23 appearances since departing Goodison Park on a temporary basis at the start of 2021.

From Oxford's perspective, Karl Robinson knows that his team have it all to do if they want to avoid a second year of disappointment in the playoffs.

Having created the same amount of chances as Blackpool, the U's boss felt that his side were undeserving of such a demoralising setback in front of their returning supporters.

Nevertheless, Robinson also spoke about the benefit of being "fearless" ahead of the trip to the North-West as they bid to pull off an unlikely comeback.

Oxford scored 24 goals during their final seven games of the regular season, a return which will ensure that Blackpool do not take them lightly at Bloomfield Road.

Blackpool League One form:
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W

Oxford United League One form:
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • L

Team News

Blackpool manager Neil Critchley looks at his watch on January 23, 2021© Reuters

While Critchley is hopeful that Luke Garbutt will shake off a minor back injury, it remains to be seen whether the Blackpool boss will be prepared to take any risks on the left-back.

If the former Everton man misses out, Jordan Thorniley will be used in central defence, with James Husband switching to full-back.

Sullay Kaikai may return to the squad after missing the first leg because of a hamstring injury.

Despite speaking positively about his team's performance on Tuesday, Robinson is expected to make at least one alteration to his starting lineup.

Olamide Shodipo appears most likely to be recalled in a wide position at the expense of either Elliot Lee or Brandon Barker.

Blackpool possible starting lineup:
Maxwell; Turton, Ballard, Thorniley, Husband; Embleton, Stewart, Dougall; Yates, Simms, Anderson

Oxford United possible starting lineup:
Stevens; Hanson, Moore, Atkinson, Ruffels; Henry, Brannagan, Sykes; Lee, Taylor, Shodipo

SM words green background

We say: Blackpool 1-1 Oxford United

Critchley will stress to his side that they can ill-afford to be too negative against opponents which now have nothing to lose.

Nevertheless, we do not expect the most thrilling of second legs, the home team securing their place at Wembley with minimal fuss.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at are predicting under 3.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 3.5:data

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Blackpool manager Neil Critchley looks at his watch on January 23, 2021
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Friday's key events

· The athletics schedule begins, with 100m sprinter Dina Asher-Smith among the names in action on the opening day. The men's 10,000m final concludes the action, with Team GB's Sam Atkin and Marc Scott taking part in the absence of 2012 and 2016 champion Sir Mo Farah (1am-2.30pm)

· Victoria Thornley is Team GB's representative in the women's single sculls final (1.33am)
· Great Britain will be going for gold in the men's eight final (2.25am)

· Team GB duo Molly Renshaw and Abbie Wood take part in the women's 200m breaststroke final, but new Olympic record-holder Tatjana Schoenmaker of South Africa is the hot favourite (2.41am)
· Luke Greenbank has very realistic ambitions of picking up a medal in the men's 200m backstroke final (2.50am)
· There is also British representation in the women's 100m freestyle final, although any medal for Anna Hopkin would be a surprise (2.59am)
· With one gold and one silver already under his belt at these Games, Duncan Scott goes again in the men's 200m individual medley final (3.16am)

· Bryony Page will be looking to repeat her 2016 heroics in the women's event (5am-7.30pm)

· Bradley Forbes-Cryans will be looking to emulate Rio gold medallist Joe Clarke in the men's kayak event (6am-9am)

· The women's tournament enters the quarter-finals, with Great Britain facing Australia at the Ibaraki Kashima Stadium (10am)

> Today's schedule in full
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