Ben Burgess: Now away teams like to be beside the seaside

Blackpool's Brad Potts takes a shot but look at the empty seats behind him
Blackpool's Brad Potts takes a shot but look at the empty seats behind him
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Tuesday night and a local derby. The crowd are streaming into the ground.

There’s a buzz of excitement and expectation. The press box is full of media from all over the country and beyond.

Noise and a sea of tangerine envelop the ground.

None of this happened this Tuesday. Sadly, none of this has happened for a few years. The big question is…will the wonderful scenes I described earlier happen anytime soon?

The press box, in fact the whole ground, was emptier than a box of chocolates left in the school staff room.

As a player I used to love the midweek games at Bloomfield Road.

The rain and wind swirling around, the great atmosphere bubbling and the opposition players scanning their surroundings and retreating further into their snuggly Under Armour.

It was always interesting walking out for the second half and seeing the other team moaning about the conditions and looking colder than Leonardo Di Caprio in The Revenant.

Unfortunately, Shrewsbury last Saturday and Oldham on Tuesday looked more like they were walking in the park, as both teams produced good displays.

This kept the Seasiders’ points total for two home games against struggling teams at a miserly one point.

Once again it followed the trajectory of Neil McDonald’s teams form this season. There’s no middle ground!

It’s great winning runs or desperately disappointing. I mentioned in last weeks column that it’s great to see Blackpool nullify and beat the top teams.

There’s no better feeling than winning when the odds are stacked against you. Blackpool usually do this through fantastically brave 
defending and great counter- attacking.

The issue for this current squad, though, is winning the games they’re expected to.

When the pressure is on, you have to dictate the play and kill off teams.

On Tuesday there were plenty of strong performances, especially in defence, where Will Aimson produced another mature display alongside Tom Aldred.

Dean Lyness was excellent in goal and showed good handling on a few dangerous crosses.

I felt Blackpool’s main problem on Tuesday was tactical.

They now have three good League One strikers and the manager is trying to fit them all into the starting 11. In doing so he’s had to tweak the formation and the midfield three now look very narrow.

Oldham spotted this straight away and continually attacked and built from their full-backs, especially down Blackpool’s right side, where poor Hayden White was more exposed than my broken garden fence in the recent wind.

Both teams had excellent opportunities to win the game late on.

It was good to see Martin Paterson come on and look such a threat.

I’ve said all along that Blackpool will be good enough to avoid relegation, and I still think that will be the case.

Moving away from the lower depths of League One and on to the cash mountain of the Premier League , things are really starting to hot 
up.

The bookies’ favourite is changing on a near daily basis. Leicester finally succumbed to defeat at the Emirates against Arsenal, despite an unbelievably brave defensive display with 10 men.

This allowed Tottenham Hotspur to dream a little more about reaching the summit.

They still had to beat the billionnaire boys in blue at the Etihad Stadium.

Spurs and their manager Mauricio Pochettino have impressed me greatly this season.

In every interview the Argentinian seems calm and composed.

He appears to be close to his players, yet he can still be ruthless as he showed with the Andros Townsend incident.

England international Townsend pushed Spurs’ fitness coach during an altercation months ago.

This resulted in Townsend being banished to the U21s, and ultimately sold and reduced to a life of underachievement in Newcastle.

The important statistic from Pochettino’s team’s victory over an ageing and somewhat stale Manchester City was that Spurs ran an 
extra six miles more than the blues!

As I tell the children in my class every day: Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.