Tangerine talking point: Baptiste deserves warm welcome

Alex Baptiste
Alex Baptiste
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Last week I spoke about the class of Blackpool’s supporters with the reception they gave to Gary Taylor-Fletcher, hopefully we’ll see another tonight.

Alex Baptiste was just about the perfect player for the Seasiders, the definition of a bargain.

Pool signed him in 2008 from Mansfield in a deal believed to be only £15,000.

I remember being in the press room at Wolves when news filtered through Simon Grayson had thrown him in at right back – we were all stunned.

But he turned in a brilliant performance and never looked back.

Baptiste was a huge part of the promotion winning side in 2010, on and off the field.

Throughout his time at Bloomfield Road he was one of the biggest characters in the dressing room and deservedly ended up captaining the side.

I can honestly say in five years of dealing with him I’d never heard him say a bad word about the club.

And it wasn’t just the player himself who bought right into the Blackpool FC story – so did his family.

You couldn’t watch a game home or away without seeing the Baptiste clan in the stands, all decked in the number 15 shirt.

And it was his mini-fan club which produced one of the funniest moments I’ve seen watching Pool.

We were away at Charlton, Pool had nicked a result and were celebrating in front of the travelling supporters.

Desperate to get involved, Baptiste’s uncle went racing onto the pitch to greet his nephew, only to be dragged off by stewards.

It was funny to see the defender chasing after the stewards trying to explain who he was.

I know some supporters were disappointed with the way Baptiste allowed his contract to run-down to sign for Bolton, but I certainly don’t blame him.

And I hope he’s given a the brilliant reception he deserves tonight.

- There’s not too much to be critical about this season after a brilliant start from the Seasiders.

But for the health of myself and the regular supporters, Pool have to stop this habit of giving away penalties.

We’ve now seen four spot kicks awarded against the Seasiders in nine games, it’s a trend which Paul Ince will no doubt be hoping ends.

Maybe it’s a result of the sheer determination not to concede goals or a little bit of rashness I don’t know.

Either way, let’s hope it’s a while before Matt Gilks is facing one again.

- Last season Paul Ince spoke time and time again about the importance of scoring the first goal in games.

So he must be over the moon with Pool’s record of opening the scoring in all of their nine matches so far.

But the problem now appears to be holding onto their lead.

Friday night was the perfect example of a game of two halves.

Before the break the Seasiders were in total control and more than good value for their lead.

But for one reason or another Huddersfield were able to impose themselves on the game and it took a bit of luck for Pool to hold onto for a point.

To be fair to Mark Robins and his team, they changed tactics and pushed Blackpool deep into their own half, particularly on the wings.

But should the Seasiders get the first goal tonight, it’s the second which will be oh so important.