Brett Ormerod column: Blackpool’s returning players have helped them to develop the winning habit

Blackpool have got into the best habit you can get into .... winning games.

Friday, 22nd November 2019, 11:45 am
Armand Gnanduillet scores his and Blackpool’s second against AFC Wimbledon

And when you get into that habit, there’s no reason why you can’t be right up there.

They have won four games in succession and have become very resilient and tough to beat. They can win in style and they can grind out wins too.

They are already well positioned and the best thing is that the feeling around the camp seems to be that the best is yet to come.

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If you are going to be competing at the top end, it always helps to have someone who is scoring regularly and Armand Gnanduillet is in a rich streak of form.

He is very unorthodox and difficult to play against. He’s very good in the air, and when he is on his game, he is very effective at this level.

It’s really been about consistency with Armand, but at the top of his game, he’s a real handful and that’s what you want your striker to be.

Armand is full of confidence and is putting himself about at the moment.

The reward is that he’s right up at the top of the scoring charts, but I think it’s no coincidence that Blackpool’s upturn in form has coincided with Sullay Kaikai getting back to his best.

If they can stay injury-free and keep their best players on the park, I really believe Blackpool can kick on from here.

I know it’s a squad game, but when you lose your best players, it is only too easy for a team to lose its rhythm.

Simon Grayson understands this league as well as anyone and knows how to make a team tough to beat.

Blackpool do seem to be getting their never-say-die spirit back. It was evident in the Peterborough game and they will need that going forward.

Ipswich away will be really tough this weekend but I’ve seen a lot of games in this division and I don’t think there’s a standout team.

Early on, Ipswich looked like they could be that team but we’re still waiting for someone to take this league by the scruff of the neck.

Wycombe are the surprise package but the league is wide open.

Sunderland haven’t really asserted themselves and it really is up for grabs if any team makes a big push – and there’s no reason why it can’t be Blackpool.

There’s no doubt about the biggest talking point of the week in football and I think everyone in the game was shocked at the sacking of Mauricio Pochettino, who has done everything possible at Spurs bar winning a trophy.

Tottenham do not pay massive amounts of money compared to some clubs and Pochettino really got them punching above their weight, but nothing should ever surprise you in football anymore.

After reaching the Champions League final, I would have expected Pochettino to have been given this season to try to develop the club further but no doubt things have been going on behind the scenes.

I thought immediately that they must have someone else lined up and it was no surprise that, inside 24 hours, Jose Mourinho was appointed.

His style is not to everyone’s taste but he wins trophies and that is proven – but whether he will at Spurs I’m not sure.

The international break has seen England qualify in style for next year’s Euros and congratulations to Gareth Southgate, who has got them playing well.

No matter what team he puts out, they seem to have a confidence and resilience about them and that can only be a positive.

The cynics will argue this was a group they should have qualified from comfortably, but they have done so in a really positive way and there is a lot of optimism going forward.

That has continued from the World Cup because what Southgate achieved was to take England’s qualifying form into a tournament. I can only think of a few occasions when that has happened.

I remember qualifying well under Roy Hodgson, then come the tournament, it all went so wrong with Harry Kane taking corners!

Southgate has shown he can get the best out of players in qualifying and when it really matters, and he could do something really special with this squad.