When I first started supporting Charlton, a visit from fellow top flight club Blackpool always boosted the gates as there was the hope of seeing the magic of Stanley Matthews. More often than not the maestro was on the injury list and the crowd was disappointed.
Since then the club, like the town, has been through many troubles and they have done well to get back to the Championship. Tomorrow we can enjoy a temporary stand in a three sided ground with the wind blowing in from the Irish Sea. What's more, the trams aren't running as they are in for a major refurb.
I haven't been to Blackpool for some forty years when I was at a conference in Morecambe and took a coach trip to see the illuminations.
There is a view that we have a divine right to turn up at clubs like Scunthorpe or Blackpool and walk away with three points. Just imagine the scene today at Blackpool's training facility (I am not sure whether this is the car park at the blind end of the ground or the beach). 'Right', says the gaffer, 'we've got the Premiership boys coming tomorrow so just make sure you show them some respect.' More likely, he will say: 'Get stuck in.'
Blackpool have a very leaky defence away from home as we found at The Valley and also happened recently at mighty Leicester when they shipped four goals. On their native beach they are a bit more solid and are something of draw specialists. They have drawn seven games, won six and only lost three. Indeed, they have conceded four fewer goals at home than we have.
I would keep Varney and Gray up front and go for a relatively attacking formation. I would like Cook to start on the wing and I hope that Bougherra will be available to replace Fortune in central defence.
Of the teams just behind us, Ipswich are away at 'league leaders' Stoke. A 0-0 draw with two players sent off on each side would suit us nicely there. Plymouth are at home to fellow 'play off contenders' Burnley and that looks like a home win. Palace have a relatively easy home fixture against faltering Wolves which at least allows embattled supremo Mick McCarthy to return to his native heath.
I am somewhat optimistically going for a 2-1 win for the Addicks, although the Sub-Standard is forecasting ADDICKS BUILD SANDCASTLES AGAINST INCOMING TIDE. Because of the length of the journey back, we may not post a report until Sunday morning.