Jose Riga is excited about his first home game in front of Blackpool’s “amazing” fans today and says they are the main reason he is still at Bloomfield Road .
The Pool boss goes into the Championship derby with Blackburn after a traumatic week, which brought defeats at Nottingham Forest and Shrewsbury and continuing problems in the transfer market.
And although doubts persist over Riga’s future, the Belgian insists he’s here for the fans.
“I’m really looking forward to my first game at home,” he said. “Our big strength is to play at home in front of the fans, but away they’ve been great too.
“The reaction of the supporters at Shrewsbury on Tuesday was amazing. We want to give everything and do our job for the fans.
“The first thing I want to do is give the fans what they deserve. From day one they have shown me they are behind me.
“They are the best part of this club certainly. They are aware of the situation here and how the club is.
“The fans are the main reason I’m still at this club. They give me power.
“Even now, when things aren’t what I expected, the main thing is that the fans are realistic.”
Pool are expected to name their full quota of substitutes for the first time this season despite ongoing squad issues.
Midfielder Andrea Orlandi is an injury worry and it is unclear whether new striker Francois Zoko, who signed yesterday, will be available this afternoon.
A confident Blackburn have sold out their ticket allocation, though Riga is well prepared for them.
The manager delayed his press conference by two and a half hours yesterday afternoon while he watched videos of Gary Bowyer’s side in action.
“I know enough about Blackburn now. I have reviewed their team and know their qualities,” Riga said.
“Teams have plenty of hope at the start of the season and Blackburn are one of those.
“We have a couple of injuries, which is a consequence of our situation.
“We knew the cup game would be tough and we are exposed to injuries. We are trying to get through it.”
A crowd of around 12,000 is expected at Bloomfield Road for the 3pm kick-off and Riga has a simple instruction for them.
“The message is to support us,” he said. “I’m sure they know that and will do that.
“The fans deserve a lot and they have had as big a part to play in the club’s success as anyone. Their support can be really helpful, and if we feel they are there we will give everything.”