OPINION: Blackpool’s blunt cutting edge needs to be sharpened

Sullay Kaikai made a welcome return for Blackpool in the midweek game against Wycombe Wanderers
Sullay Kaikai made a welcome return for Blackpool in the midweek game against Wycombe Wanderers
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With just six goals in their last seven games, scoring has clearly been a problem for Blackpool in recent weeks.

Pool’s overall goals tally of 18 is actually one fewer than that of AFC Wimbledon, who currently find themselves in the bottom three.

The Seasiders have only managed to score two goals or more in that barren run on just one occasion – which came in the recent victory against Lincoln City.

Since that promising start to the season, which saw Simon Grayson’s men win their first three games on the spin before drawing at Gillingham, Blackpool have only scored more than one goal on two occasions.

It’s no wonder, then, that the men in tangerine have only won two of their last 11 games in league action.

There’s reasons for Pool’s struggles in front of goal, namely the recent injuries and international call-ups, which have adversely affected Blackpool, especially in the final third.

But now they’re virtually back to full strength, with Ryan Hardie the only absentee against Wycombe Wanderers on Tuesday, Pool can really have no excuses.

It was heartening to see the returns of Sullay Kaikai and Jordan Thompson in midweek, which made for a far more attacking line-up.

The over-reliance on Liam Feeney and his 10 assists has been plain to see so far this term, and there have been games where it’s literally been a case of passing it to the winger and seeing what he can come up with.

Well that just won’t cut the mustard and there has to be more variety to their play.

While the lack of creativity in midfield is likely to remain an issue until the next transfer window, you should be able to produce more with Nathan Delfouneso, Feeney, Kaikai and Thompson getting on the ball in the final third.

While results have been mixed of late, Blackpool are still in a good position hovering just outside the play-offs.

Right now, you’d probably say the Seasiders are the sort of side that is likely to finish in between sixth and 10th unless they can add the desired quality in January.

But the main issue for supporters has been the relative lack of entertainment on offer, as it’s fair to say we’ve not witnessed many exciting spectacles so far.

But that’s not to say Blackpool are too far away from clicking, because they’re not.

In their last two games, against Rotherham United and Wycombe respectively, they’ve been undone by goals that came very much against the run of play.

That was the last thing you wanted to do against those two sides in particular as they’re particularly good at winding the clock down and frustrating the life out of you.

Prior to those game-changing moments, the Seasiders were on top and looking the more likely to make something happen.

Fine margins can make a big difference in this game, but Pool do look particularly vulnerable and short of ideas when they fall a goal behind.

This weekend Grayson’s men make the trip to Staffordshire to take on a Burton Albion side that sit in 13th place in League One.

The imaginatively-named Pirelli Stadium has been an unhappy hunting ground for the Seasiders, who have yet to taste victory there.

The two sides have only faced each other on four occasions in their respective histories, but Burton have come out on top in three of those battles.

Pool fans will have particularly bad memories of their trips to the Brewers.

They slipped into the bottom four of the third tier back in January 2016 after falling to a 1-0 defeat against the 10 men of Burton, a season that ultimately resulted in relegation to League Two.

There were ugly scenes at the full-time whistle as the players attempted to applaud the travelling fans, with Tom Aldred facing up to the supporters before removing his shirt.

Last season’s visit was also one to forget, as the Seasiders slumped to a disappointing 3-0 defeat in a game where Mark Howard ruptured his Achilles; an injury from which he’s only just recovered.

Let’s hope all the talking points come on the pitch this time around and we’re all celebrating a change in fortunes for the goal-shy Seasiders.