Blackpool are now 10 games into the new League One campaign and normally you’d say that’s a good time to assess how things have gone so far.
But, given the haphazard nature of the league table, with only six sides having played 10 games due to Bolton Wanderers’ struggles and Bury’s demise, you probably can’t read an awful lot into it.
The Seasiders currently sit sixth, having won four of their opening 10 fixtures, drawing four and losing two.
That’s a pretty respectable start to the season and one Simon Grayson probably would have taken had he been offered it before a ball was kicked.
Of course Blackpool have things to work on, the most urgent one that requires addressing being their lack of creativity.
The Seasiders are far too reliant on Liam Feeney, who has been a revelation at wing-back with eight assists to his name already.
But, somewhat unsurprisingly, opposing sides have worked out Blackpool’s tactic of working the ball out to the right flank as often as possible to urge Feeney to whip cross after cross into the box.
It’s been a successful strategy, with Armand Gnanduillet being the main benefactor. But you’ve got to have more strings to your bow otherwise you’ll be far too predictable and easy to defend against.
It’s clear Grayson wants his side to control games by dominating possession, but that tactic has its drawbacks.
If Pool are unable to break down the opposition early on, this inevitably causes frustration where the other side are happy to sit deep and defend in numbers.
The way the Seasiders are currently playing, they don’t have the guile or invention to break through.
That’s been the case in recent weeks, both MK Dons and Accrington Stanley deploying that exact tactic while having joy against Pool on the counter-attack.
The good thing is Grayson and his players are well aware of the problem, they’re not hiding from it.
It will be something they work on every day in training and, with one or two tweaks – and perhaps a change in personnel – here and there, it is something that will be rectified against Lincoln City tonight.
There’s something about a Friday night game under the lights that evokes an extra feeling of anticipation.
As frustrating as it is that this game has been moved from the Saturday, owing to Preston North End playing at Deepdale on the same day, I wouldn’t be surprised if there was an extra edge to the atmosphere at Bloomfield Road.
The Imps should travel in good numbers, with 1,200 tickets already sold, and there’s extra excitement for them with it being Michael Appleton’s first game in charge.
Appleton, of course, is someone Blackpool fans will know all about. Although, given his short spell in the manager’s hotseat, you could be forgiven for forgetting exactly what transpired during his 64 days in charge.
It’s fair to say his stint on the Fylde coast didn’t exactly live long in the memory, the 43-year-old making the move across Lancashire to Blackburn Rovers after winning just two of his 11 league games in charge.
He has a job on his hands at Sincil Bank, too, seeing as he’s having to follow Lincoln’s most successful management team of all time in the Cowley brothers, who recently moved up a division by joining Huddersfield Town.
Appleton’s first job will be to put a stop to Lincoln’s terrible recent form, which has seen them lose six of their last seven games. They were also thrashed 6-0 by Appleton’s former side, Oxford United, in their most recent fixture.
Despite the blip, the Imps still sit in 10th position in the League One table, just three points behind the Seasiders.
It promises to be a good game and one Blackpool really ought to be winning on their return to home turf.
The fixture list doesn’t get any easier, with Rotherham United, Wycombe Wanderers, Burton Albion and Peterborough United coming up next.
If Grayson’s side still find themselves in a play-off spot after these next five games you’d have to be optimistic about Pool’s chances going forward.