Gary Taylor-Fletcher column: Fleetwood match is one Blackpool can't afford to lose

The return to fitness of Nathan Delfouneso has been a big factor in Blackpool regaining form says Gary Taylor-Fletcher
The return to fitness of Nathan Delfouneso has been a big factor in Blackpool regaining form says Gary Taylor-Fletcher
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Is Blackpool against Fleetwood Town a derby game? You’d have to say yes. It’s the closest game to Blackpool, so it’s a big game.

READ MORE: Delfouneso ready for 'massive' match
Andy Pilley has done what he said he would do in terms of getting Fleetwood above Blackpool in the league pyramid, which they were two seasons ago.

But now they’re competing in the same division and that rivalry will be there.

It’s a big game and one that Blackpool will be looking to win to keep their momentum going from the last few weeks. Both teams are well-stocked to put on a good show.

One of the main things for Blackpool is to avoid defeat, given they’re on the same number of points as Fleetwood, having played two games more.

If Fleetwood get the win, then they will go three points ahead with two games in hand, which would leave Blackpool with a lot of work to do chasing them. If Blackpool can get the win, that evens it up a little bit.

Blackpool had been looking a bit devoid of attacking options, but since Sullay Kaikai and Nathan Delfouneso have come back they look a totally different team.

In other news, I’m sure my old team-mate Charlie Adam will have been happy with the FA Cup draw on Monday, although it would have been nicer had the tie against his Reading side been at Bloomfield Road.

If Blackpool can take a good following there, they can make a bit of money and go to cause an upset.

Anything can happen in the cup because teams raise their game, and you don’t know if Reading will rest a few players.

It all depends on how the teams are doing at the time in terms of their form at the start of January and what team they put out.

But Blackpool have to go there and attack with no fear – there’s no point sitting back and just trying to defend because teams like Reading will always score a goal. But I do think it would probably be easier to beat them at their place.

The festive schedule is now coming up and as a player I loved all the games in a short period of time.

Obviously I wasn’t keen on having to train on Christmas Day but that’s part and parcel of it all.

The games on Boxing Day were always really good. You always had to prepare yourself on Christmas Day and be a little mindful of how much Christmas dinner you had. Maybe you could have one or two drinks without going excessive.

You’ve still got to enjoy it but you’ve just got to be wary that you have a game on Boxing Day and usually another two days later.

You can end up having four games in the space of a week, so you’ve got to look after yourself.

As a football fan you love the games coming thick and fast. Personally, I’m looking forward to enjoying my first Christmas since retiring.

But I’ll still be at Bloomfield Road as a fan on Boxing Day for their game.

Elsewhere, it’s been great to see the job Ian Evatt is doing with Barrow in the National League.

Evo was a very intelligent player and he’s taken that into his management career.

He knows how to set a team up and he knows how to motivate lads. People like Ian, Keith Southern and myself – all intelligent players! – know how to get the best out of themselves and the players they’re coaching.

He’s doing an absolutely magnificent job with a Barrow club that has always tried to take that step up to the top but hasn’t been able to do it.

Evo is doing a top job and will show he can go and manage higher up. He’ll soon be on the radar of other clubs as an ex-player doing well. He’s always going to have interest in him.

He’s said publicly he likes to play similar football to the brand we played under Ian Holloway. That’s the best way to do it because that’s what you know and what you adhere to. But he’ll have added his own little twist to it. I did the same when I was manager at Bangor.

You’ve got to adapt but the blueprint at Blackpool was so successful because we lived it day in, day out and we knew what worked.

As a coach you’ve just got to tweak it a little bit and that’s what Evo is doing at Barrow.