Will Watt: It’s the most crucial time of the year

Blackpool boss Neil McDonald
Blackpool boss Neil McDonald
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It’s probably done us all good to have a full week away from the relentless action.

After four games in two weeks – and four defeats – you got the feeling Blackpool were desperately struggling and in need of a breather.

But they must get back in the groove tomorrow.

With a game against Fleetwood Town just over a week away, Pool must not extend that losing run at Roots Hall tomorrow.

For me, a draw will do, even if it’s a dreadfully dull goalless game which reporters like myself usually hate.

What Neil McDonald’s side need to do first and foremost is stop the rot and somehow lay foundations for another run of decent results between now and Christmas.

The corresponding period last season was undoubtedly the spell which saw Blackpool relegated – after Christmas, the players, manager and chairman all but gave up.

Tomorrow Pool face a Southend team who have pulled up no trees in League One and aren’t filled with what you’d call star men.

In other words, it’s a very, very winnable game.

That said, if Blackpool play like they have in recent weeks, then they’ll be lucky to win a corner, let alone the game. Big improvements are needed.

I hoped for new faces this week and McDonald said he wanted some. Sadly only one has arrived.

Andy Little hasn’t exactly got the pulses of Pool fans racing but you can’t question that he’s scored goals in the past.

If Pool can get his confidence back, then there’s no reason why he shouldn’t add to his tally.

Let’s hope so.

-- On Wednesday night Neil McDonald was a studio guest at BBC Radio Lancashire and he was asked about his issues with The Gazette.

He explained: “I’ve come into the club and was told The Gazette have issues with the club.

“I’ve been told I’m only allowed to speak to them after the game.

“I’ll gladly speak to The Gazette after games and I have done, but until those issues are sorted that’s all I can do.

“Hopefully the issues between the club and The Gazette will be sorted as we need their support.”

While it’s encouraging to hear those words, the facts of the situation have to be reiterated.

The Gazette does not have any ‘issues’ with Blackpool FC – the ‘issues’ are entirely the club’s.Our access has been restricted because The Gazette has chosen not to become a ‘media partner’ of the club, which would have meant paying to sponsor them.

We have done this in the past but decided against doing so these last two seasons.

The Gazette has been representing the people of the Fylde coast since 1873 and continues to do so.

Our readers are important to us and at present they would not respect us for paying for access at Bloomfield Road.

Our readers are, and will always be, the only people we answer to editorially.

-- Finally, you may have seen that I was short-listed for two journalism awards this week. In typical Blackpool FC style, I lost them both.

I at least have two ‘highly commended’ certificates on my desk from the O2 Media Awards and the North West Football awards.

While winning would obviously have been nice, it was a real honour to have made the shortlist out of the hundreds of sports journalists around the region.

Fellow professionals often say that covering Blackpool must be the worst job in the business but at times it’s the best – we are certainly never short of a story.

I won’t deny that it’s been a hugely challenging year, but I’d like to think we’ve done a decent job and take this opportunity to thank the readers for your support.

Yes, it’s been 12 months of madness at Blackpool FC but thanks for choosing to read about it with us.

One day we’ll all sit around and laugh about this period in the club’s history. Either that or we’ll cry!