OPINION: Blackpool’s FA Cup draw can be a reason for optimism

Blackpool and Reading play again on Tuesday for the right to face Cardiff City or Carlisle United in the FA Cup fourth round
Blackpool and Reading play again on Tuesday for the right to face Cardiff City or Carlisle United in the FA Cup fourth round
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Monday’s FA Cup draw wasn’t the most exciting from a Blackpool point of view – but perhaps that’s a good thing.

Should the Seasiders overcome Reading in their third round replay on Tuesday night, they will face a home tie against either Cardiff City or Carlisle United in the next round.

It’s only natural that supporters are keen to see their club handed a glamour tie against a Manchester United, a Liverpool, an Arsenal etc.

But, if you’re not fortunate enough to be handed one of those, then a winnable home tie gives you a better chance of progressing and claiming some extra cash along the way, which will certainly come in handy this month.

Should Pool finally overcome Reading in their replay, as they ought to have done in the original tie, the club will pocket £135,000.

Should Simon Grayson’s men then go on to beat either Cardiff or Carlisle in the fourth round, that will mean an extra £180,000.

That sort of money can’t be sniffed at for sides like Blackpool in the third tier, especially when they’ve already pocketed £90,000 from the wins against Morecambe and Maidstone United in the previous two rounds.

In addition, the FA will also dish out £250,000 to the team from each division that gets the furthest in the competition.

Were that to be Blackpool, and should they make it to the fifth round – which certainly isn’t out of the question – they’ll have made an impressive £655,000 from their FA Cup exploits this season.

It will be interesting to see whether Reading field a stronger side than the one Mark Bowen put out at the Madejski Stadium last weekend.

The Royals boss made 11 changes on the back of the Championship side’s hectic festive schedule.

The Berkshire outfit have won four games on the spin in the second tier, leaving them six points adrift of the play-offs.

Bowen has subsequently made no secret of where his priorities lie, so there’s a good chance he’ll name a weaker line-up for next week’s return fixture, albeit not quite as weak as the one named in the original tie.

Perhaps we’ll see Charlie Adam grace the Bloomfield Road turf once again, having not played there since his departure in 2011.

The Scot was denied a reunion with the Seasiders in the original cup tie on Saturday but, now he’s had a bit of a break, you’d like to think Bowen would be generous enough to give him that memorable homecoming he so desperately craves.

The Seasiders, meanwhile, should come into the game as fresh as possible given they’re without a league fixture this weekend – owing to their game against Bury being cancelled.

That gives Pool the opportunity to get their new signings Grant Ward and Jordan Thorniley up to speed – and who can rule out further additions between now and then?

The rumour mill continues to go into overdrive, although this week the focus has been on players potentially going out rather than coming in.

Armand Gnanduillet is the latest to be linked with a move away, while speculation continues to surround players including Jordan Thompson, Curtis Tilt and Ben Heneghan.

Charlton Athletic’s interest in Gnanduillet is genuine, but unless they table an offer that is too good to turn down, I struggle to see why the Seasiders would let him go, even taking into consideration his contract runs out in the summer.

With Simon Sadler’s lofty ambitions, there’s no logic to selling your top goalscorer who has bagged 12 of Blackpool’s 32 league goals this season.

Even if there is a generous offer, it’s not like Pool are strapped for cash anymore and will need to sell.

Elsewhere, a youthful Blackpool side fell to a 3-0 defeat against Morecambe during what turned out to be a fairly pointless reserve exercise on Tuesday.

While the timing of the fixture wasn’t ideal, falling just after the festive period, it was strange that fringe first-team players weren’t included.

Grayson granted a few days off for his first team, which is the reason behind the absence of the likes of Jack Sims, Christoffer Mafoumbi, Michael Nottingham, Sean Scannell and Ryan Hardie.

Nevertheless, we still got to see Adi Yussuf and Ben Tollitt in action after the pair returned from their respective loan spells.

Unfortunately neither made much of an impression and one can only imagine they’ll both be sent out on loan again.

Young goalkeeper Charlie Monks did well inbetween the sticks, making a string of late saves to keep the scoreline respectable.