Next Up: Blackpool

Friday 17 April 2015 09:00

Fulham travel to Bloomfield Road on Saturday to take on already relegated Blackpool, with the Whites looking for the win that could – other results permitting – secure Championship safety.

The opposition

The bookmakers had Blackpool as firm favourites for the drop this campaign and the pre-season predictions have been proven correct, with the Tangerines suffering a miserable season. They are already confirmed to finish bottom of the table and are looking to avoid an unwanted record of the least number of points ever accumulated at this level – 26, one more than they are on currently.

The start to the season set the tone for what was to follow. Jose Riga scrambled together a team for the campaign opener at Forest but could only call upon four substitutes, as off the field issues began from day one.

Blackpool lost their opening five games and were winless in their next five before recording their first three points of the season at home to Cardiff City in October. That win would prove to be false hope, however. 

A eight-game run without a win followed, including a 2-2 draw at Craven Cottage. In the midst of this poor spell, Riga was sacked and Lee Clark was handed the seemingly impossible task of trying to keep them in the division.

Clark did guide the side to a four-game unbeaten run, but after being thrashed 6-1 at home to Bournemouth they were already 10 points adrift and looking certainties for the drop.

They started the New Year in positive fashion, beating Millwall in a relegation crunch match, but would then suffer some humiliating results soon after. The Seasiders lost 7-2 at Watford before being brushed aside 4-0 at Norwich City, Brentford and Bournemouth.

Winless in 15 games and coming off the back of another 4-0 defeat at Derby County in midweek, the Tangerines do not come into Saturday’s game in good spirits and will be hoping to add some joy to a dismal season for the club and its supporters.

Team news

Miles Addison could make a return following a knee injury but Tom Aldred, Mark Waddington, Grant Hall and goalkeeper Joe Lewis all look unlikely to feature against the Whites.

Inside the camp

Following his side’s 4-0 defeat to Derby on Tuesday, manager Lee Clark was unimpressed with his team’s display which he believes highlighted the gulf in class between the two sides.

He told “It was men against boys. When you concede a goal like we did after three minutes, against a team like this, then you're up against it. We never got to grips with them all evening. 

“The margin was big between the two teams. I look at my bench and without being disrespectful there were five players that started the season in the under-18s. They’re the future of this club, but when you come to places like this and come up against the movement and pace that they have, it tells.”

Player to watch

Andrea Orlandi: The midfielder started his career in his native Spain and came through the ranks at Segunda side Alaves. In the summer of 2005 he was loaned to his hometown club and Spanish giants Barcelona, and although mainly playing for the ‘B’ side, did make one appearance for the senior team under Frank Rijkaard. The attacking midfielder made the move to Britain in the summer of 2007 when he joined Swansea City as a free agent, with the club in the Championship at the time. The Spaniard was part of the promotion winning team to the Premier League, and in his one and only season in the top flight managed to score one of the fastest Premier League goals after just 25 seconds against Wolverhampton Wanderers in a 4-4 draw. Prior to the 2012/13 season, Orlandi joined Brighton but after being a regular in his first season with the Seagulls, found opportunities limited in his second term and subsequently was released last summer. He opted to join Blackpool for the current season and has been one of the few positives – he is currently their joint-top scorer with three goals. The Tangerines midfielder has recently had a clause triggered in his contract which means he will be with Clark’s side next season. A technical player with an eye for a pass, Orlandi is comfortable both centrally and out wide in attacking areas.

Marathonbet match odds

Blackpool: 7/2

Draw: 139/50

Fulham: 22/25

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