With the new Championship season almost upon us, Sports Mole previews the next few months ahead for Paul Ince's Blackpool.
With the Championship season beginning this weekend, Sports Mole casts its eye over Blackpool's summer and their prospects for the 2013-14 campaign.
Gary MacKenzie (from MK Dons, Undisclosed), Michael Chopra (from Ipswich Town, Undisclosed), Steven Davies (from Bristol City, Undisclosed)
Alex Baptiste (to Bolton Wanderers, Free,), Stephen Crainey (to Wigan Athletic, Free), Neil Eardley (to Birmingham City, Free), Alex Addai (Released), Paul Bignot (Released), Gerardo Bruna (Released), Matthew Challoner (Released), Adda Djeziri (Released), Ashley Eastham (Released), Tiago Gomes (Released), Elliot Grandin (Released), Jamie Menagh (Released), Curtis Thompson (Released), Kevin Phillips (to Crystal Palace, Free)
Last Season: 15th
Manager: Paul Ince
Three key players:
© PA Photos
Matt Gilks -
Having been with the Tangerines since 2008, Scottish goalkeeper Gilks is somewhat of a Blackpool stalwart. Ince's men will need the 31-year-old to be at his very best next year if they are to fight off the threat of relegation. In fact, they could have been playing League One football during the upcoming campaign but for Gilks, who put in numerous man of the match performances between the posts. He will also no doubt be looking to improve on the 63 goals that 'Pool conceded.
© PA Photos
Matt Phillips - Thomas Ince
may still be a Blackpool player at the time of writing, but it will be a major surprise if he is still at Bloomfield Road come the end of the transfer window. If, as expected, he does depart, a lot of the creative burden will be passed on to Phillips. He missed part of last season through injury, but still impressed during his 28 outings. Ince senior will also be looking for the 22-year-old to contribute his fair share of goals, having only scored three times last time out.
© PA Photos
Michael Chopra -
Regardless of his problems off the pitch, Chopra has shown in previous years that he can be prolific in the second tier of English football. Back in 2006-07 he scored 22 goals for Cardiff City and four seasons later he added 18 more. He even scored 14 times during the first of his two turbulent years at Ipswich Town. A return in that region could well boost Blackpool's survival hopes.
First game: Doncaster Rovers (A), Complete fixture list
Sports Mole says: Three seasons ago, and under the guidance of Ian Holloway, Blackpool were preparing for life in the Premier League. Fast forward to the present day, and there is no such excitement on the Lancashire coast. They've lost plenty of experience this summer, with the likes of Alex Baptiste, Stephen Crainey and Kevin Phillips all heading for pastures new. It has resulted in Ince admitting that he needs at least eight or nine new faces, but with financial constraints, that may prove a tricky task. It could all make for a long season for a side that only stayed up by five points last season.
Predicted finish: 22nd