Blackpool vs PNE
Championship - Saturday 15th March 2008
Anyone connected to these two clubs does not need to be reminded how fierce the rivalry is between them and just how important the upcoming game is. With both teams nervously looking over their shoulders, it makes the fixture that little bit more significant to each of the clubs. Blackpool have enjoyed being above their bitter rivals for the majority of the season, but all could come to an end come Saturday afternoon. Three points for Preston would see them leapfrog Blackpool and move up to 12th place, albeit only for a couple of hours until the rest of the Championship plays. It's a similar reward for Blackpool too should they get the three points, taking them on the brink of the top half of the table and into 12th place.
Saturday's game will be the first time Preston have visited the seaside since the April 2000 and will be determined to prove they are indeed no fools, as they seek revenge following the 1-0 deficit at Deepdale in December.
On Tuesday night, Preston saw off the challenge of Wolves and made it three wins on the spin - the first time they have done so all season. Blackpool however are without a win in their last three games following Tuesday nights defeat at Loftus Road. Alan Irvine's men are the form side then going into the game but as you all know, form counts for nothing in local derbies which I am sure both sets of players will be aware of.
Bloomfield Road is proving to be a difficult place to visit, as the Seasider's have not lost at home since December. The elements may have played a helping hand in their impressive home form this season with teams seemingly not being able to adjust to the conditions on the coast. Saturday's forecast is for heavy rain in Blackpool but let's hope that Simon Grayson's men don't rain on North End's parade as the look for their 4th win in a row.
Already this season Blackpool have beaten Preston in the aforementioned 1-0 win at Deepdale where a Wes Hoolahan penalty, after 68 minutes, was enough for Blackpool in what was considered a lacklustre performance from the Lilywhites. As mentioned previously, we have to go back to the 1999/2000 season for previous meetings between these two rivals. A 3-0 win at Deepdale and a 0-0 draw at Bloomfield Road saw North End take away most of the spoils that year as opposed to the year previous, where it was the exact opposite almost; a win for Blackpool at Deepdale and a 0-0 draw At Bloomfield.
My prediction: Blackpool to win of course, by 2 goals to 1