Matt Scrafton, from the Blackpool Gazette, gives the lowdown on the Tangerines’ season ahead of their trip to Pompey...
Ignoring Blackpool’s recent form, it’s been a very good season so far compared to what many expected.
The players and management are still talking about pushing for the play-offs, although that might be asking too much following their Christmas form.
Injuries to key players such as Curtis Tilt took their toll over the festive period.
But the fact they’re still talking about finishing in the top six is remarkable, considering what has been happening off the pitch.
I don’t expect them to finish in the play-offs but their current position is a testament to how well Pool are doing.
It was a shock Gary Bowyer resigned as boss just one game into the season.
Terry McPhillips was his assistant manager. At first, he didn’t seem particularly interested in the job.
Interim managers not wanting the role permanent is often the case, but as the weeks went by McPhillips then took the role.
He hasn’t changed a great deal and carried on the great work Bowyer did during his two years at the club.
Blackpool’s blip over the Christmas period was the first spell McPhillips has had a few question marks surrounding him.
Apart from that, though, he’s done very well in his first managerial job.
Regarding the ownership situation with the Oyston family, there have been lots of rumours things are going to happen – but we’ve had that for a while.
Is there anything concrete? I’m not entirely sure and it’s a sad situation.
It’s dragging on and on. Both the owners and the fans seem to be so entrenched that no-one will move from their situation.
The Oystons still owe £25m and have made no effort to pay that back.
It means the club can’t go out in January and splash the cash, instead signing players on free transfers and loans, while they might have to sell players to get one in.
The club staff behind the scenes are literally the minimum needed to get by on a day-by-day basis.
Jay Spearing has stood out for Blackpool this season.
He’s a name fans know having played for Liverpool. The midfielder arrived halfway through the last campaign, playing well without pulling up any trees.
But with a full pre-season behind him, he’s really taken it to another level.
I’ve not seen many better players on Spearing’s level this season – maybe Ronan Curtis, who scored twice at Bloomfield Road in the reverse fixture.