The Brett Ormerod column: An early goal would be massive tonight
It’s one foot in the final for the Seasiders, isn’t it?
To win 3-0 at Oxford United in the first leg, wow, they couldn’t have dreamed of a better start.
There’s still a long way to go but it’s a fantastic result to set themselves up for tonight’s game.
If we’re being greedy, Blackpool could have actually had four or five.
They certainly had the chances but to go to Oxford, a good side who were in great form, and win 3-0 is a magnificent performance and result.
You can’t be complacent though. It wasn’t that long ago that Blackpool, under Sam Allardyce, went to Bradford City, won the first leg 2-0, and still found themselves being knocked out.
I remember Chris Kamara being a bit peeved Blackpool had printed the route to Wembley in the matchday programme.
He said he didn’t need to do a team talk, that was all the motivation they needed.
They went out and won 3-0 on the night, so it just shows you what can happen – so it’s never over.
Saying that, I don’t think Neil Critchley will let his players get complacent, because they haven’t done it before, but it gives them an absolutely massive advantage heading into the second leg.
The big thing that works in their favour is they have the best defensive record in the league, so they know they can keep teams out.
Two goals for Ellis Simms as well, which was fantastic. He keeps going from strength to strength.
I did an interview recently where I was asked about the Everton loanee, and I told him he’s got everything and has the potential to go as high as he wants.
He’s still only very young but he’s got the maturity. He’s a big lad but he’s mobile and he likes to run in behind and use his strength and power.
He can finish too, so he’s got a bit of everything.
His game since he first came has really improved, too. He seems to have really taken to Blackpool and got better as every game has gone on.
What an experience it’s been for him, too. He’s been fantastic for Blackpool since he came in and I’m sure Everton will be delighted with his progress.
It will be interesting to see how Critchley approaches the second leg now, given they’ve got that three-goal advantage.
I’m expecting him to play as if it’s a normal game though.
They’re at home, yes, but they just need to carry on and do what they did in the first leg because it clearly worked.
Oxford are chasing the game, they need to get back into it, so the more they push forward, the more they leave spaces at the back for Blackpool to exploit.
An early goal would be massive. Get one and that would pretty much kill Oxford off and their heads would go down.
Oxford have to take that chance because they have to throw caution to the wind and go for it, because they need three goals minimum.
It will be a big occasion with the fans coming back as well.
They’ve got a massive foot into the play-off final, but they’ve just got to remain professional, see it out and finish off the second leg.
Lincoln beat Sunderland 2-0 in the other tie, so they’ve got a decent advantage as well heading into their second leg.
I don’t think Blackpool will be too bothered who they face.
They’ll take anyone as long as they get to the final, because that’s what it’s all about. That’s the important thing.
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