A different team, but the same result: Matt Scrafton's verdict on Blackpool's EFL Trophy thrashing of Morecambe
Simon Grayson made wholesale changes to his Blackpool side for last night’s EFL Trophy opener but you wouldn’t have noticed it with the quality on show.
The clearest sign of Blackpool’s rejuvenation under Simon Sadler is the strength in depth now at Grayson’s disposal.
The Seasiders are able to name two equally matched line-ups without seeing a noticeable drop in standard.
If Jak Alnwick is injured, you have Christoffer Mafoumbi and the currently injured Mark Howard in reserve.
If Ryan Edwards is unavailable for whatever reason, Ben Heneghan will step in seamlessly, and debutant Calum Macdonald will be pushing James Husband all the way for that left wing-back role this season.
Both Matty Virtue and Callum Guy showed on Tuesday they’re more than capable of starting in the middle of Pool’s midfield in the league on a regular basis, but have a challenge on their hands to shift Jay Spearing and Jordan Thompson - although the latter will miss out this weekend due to being away with Northern Ireland.
Grayson has those dilemmas in every position on the pitch.
He made nine changes against Morecambe from the side he named against Portsmouth at the weekend yet the team that took to the pitch in the EFL Trophy was still jam-packed with quality.
One of those to survive from the Portsmouth draw was Liam Feeney and, despite only lasting 45 minutes, the 32-year-old was in inspired form once again.
He provided the corner for Heneghan’s early headed opener before delivering one of his now-trademark deliveries from the right for Blackpool’s second, which came via the slightest of touches from Michael Nottingham.
Two assists now takes his tally to five for the season and the wing-back continues to go from strength to strength in his new role.
There were too many positive displays across the park to go through every player, but Nathan Shaw warrants a mention for his performance off the bench on what was his senior debut for the club.
Due to a recent EFL rule change, the 18-year-old has been a regular substitute during the last year without ever getting his chance, so it was heartening to see the academy product finally get an opportunity.
Playing at right wing-back, Shaw demonstrated why he is so highly-rated by many and didn’t look out of place in the first-team whatsoever.
The Seasiders played plenty of good stuff in what was an entertaining cup tie. On another day they could have racked up six, seven or eight.
But Morecambe played their part too and were unfortunate to find themselves on the wrong end of a hiding having posed a threat on the counter for most of the night. It was just their defending that let them down.
They might have got away with that had they played a different Blackpool side in years gone by but, given those players now at Grayson’s disposal, Jim Bentley’s men were given a ruthless lesson in finishing.
The cherry on top of the cake was Ryan Hardie and Joe Nuttall getting in on the act with their first goals for the club. Let’s hope they’re the first of many.