Blackpool FC writer Matt Scrafton takes a look at the key talking points from the Seasiders' goalless draw against Crawley Town.
Where is the club going?
That was the question asked by former Pool player Keith Southern while summarising for BBC Radio Lancashire, who went on to say Gary Bowyer's side find themselves "marooned" in mid table. Not only that, Southern also estimated that only 500 or 600 fans came through the gate last night, only for the club to put out a scarcely believable official figure of 2,080. The figure has been widely disputed and ridiculed on social media with pictures from the away end showing two virtually empty stands. It's a sad sight but even if we take the official attendance at face value, it still represents Pool's lowest home gate of the season in the league and by some margin too - with the previous gate against Colchester of 2,772 the second lowest. The comparisons to five and six years ago are obvious and you don't need me to tell you how far the club has fallen, but it's difficult to imagine what sort of future the club has in its current guise.
Blackpool have got it all to do
Looking at matters on the pitch, last night was a missed opportunity for the Seasiders who failed to take advantage of their game in hand, which was a fixture rearranged due to their cup exploits. Pool could have reduced the gap to Portsmouth in seventh to five points, but their disappointing draw sees them remain in a lowly 14th place. It's difficult to see where Pool go from here, especially when you consider their next two games are trips to high-flying Carlisle United and Portsmouth. They have the likes of Exeter and Plymouth coming up soon as well, to add insult to injury. With Pool now winless in their last six games, they're relying on an unlikely run of wins that has propelled Exeter to the cusp of the automatic spots with seven straight wins. Right now, there's nothing to suggest that run of form is likely to happen.
What's happened to Pool's home form?
It wasn't too long ago that Blackpool were able to boast one of the league's strongest records on home turf, but their record at Bloomfield Road is now only the 11th best in League Two. Their record is five wins, six draws and three defeats. Hardly cries out promotion hopefuls, does it? More worryingly for Pool is that they've yet to record a win on home turf in the league since the end of November. Not only that, they're struggling to break down average sides like Yeovil, Colchester and Crawley who have all travelled to Bloomfield Road in recent weeks looking for a point and they've all been rewarded for their efforts. While the men in tangerine have tightened up away from home and become more of a solid unit, their home form has dipped massively.
Blackpool's record from the spot this season was already a poor one before Neil Danns became the latest victim last night. Danns deserves credit for showing the courage to step up after being scythed down in the penalty box, but his spot kick was poor and must have missed the left post by a good yard. He's not the only one to have missed for the Seasiders this season, with Danny Philliskirk and Armand Gnanduillet also failing the hit the back of the net from the spot. Penalties have the ability to change games, whether they're scored or missed, and had Danns' spot kick gone in last night Pool would have surely gone on to record a routine win. But that wasn't the case and they were forced to huff and puff their way to a boring stalemate.
Why not go back to basics?
Blackpool's lean spell back in November and December came largely thanks to consistent team selections and a simple 4-4-2 formation where every player knew their role. It was easy to predict the side every week but as of recently, Bowyer has opted to make two, three and sometimes even four changes to his first eleven. Injuries certainly haven't helped but inconsistent team selection has seen the likes of Mark Cullen, Jack Payne and Bright Osayi-Samuel come in and out of the team, which hasn't done anything for their form. The 3-5-2 formation has paid dividends away from home where Pool have kept four consecutive clean sheets, while it also proved successful in the two FA Cup games against Barnsley. But at home, where the onus is on Blackpool to take the game to their opponents, it's had little success and one look at their results shows just how costly it's proven.