How would you sum up Blackpool's season so far?
Predictable. Our problems over the course of the summer were well documented and I doubt there's an Earth-based football fan out there who isn't familiar with the shambolic pre-season we endured which led to us having only eight players a week before the season. Whatever assurances were made by Karl Oyston when appointing Jose Riga appear not to have been followed through upon, and it's been a constant battle between the pair with the two airing their grievances in public. Riga claims only Costa Rican midfielder Jose Cubero was one of his original targets, the rest of the players being effectively brought in to make up the numbers. The counter-claim from Oyston is that nearly all of the players were of Riga's choosing, and now we do have a reasonably-sized squad, we should be doing a lot better.
Given Oyston's track record, it's clear whose version of events the majority of supporters buy into. The quality of the players signed is clearly nowhere near the level required to be competitive in the Championship, and Riga has not been shy in voicing that concern. To the Belgian's credit, it's incredible that we have only really taken a bit of a battering in one game, the 4-2 defeat to Huddersfield last weekend. Other than that, for the most part Blackpool have "been in games" even if the points haven't been forthcoming. Not only do we have a lack of quality in the final third, Riga is also having to try and gel a virtually entire new team and I'm not sure anyone else could do much better. The fact we're rock bottom and few fans are calling for the manager's head shows that the finger of blame is clearly being pointed elsewhere, as recent protests have shown.
It's safe to say it's been a troubling few seasons on and off the pitch for the club, is there any hope of stability returning anytime soon?
Not really. We seem to be caught in a downward spiral with little hope of improvement. The chronic underinvestment in the club, both on and off the pitch, since promotion to the Premier League are finally catching up with us, while at the same time the owners are enjoying the financial rewards of our day in the sun with record director salaries, as well as numerous payments and loans to their other companies. The approach seems to be to try and find out how small the budget can go while still maintaining Championship status. The problem is, their game seems to have been rumbled this time around.
They've gone too far and even if they do intend to now throw money at it to try and keep us up, which is about as likely as Margaret Thatcher being voted Barnsley's favourite Briton of all time, it's too late. No top flight team will want to loan their young players to us in our current predicament, and if we try to sign players in January, who will sign for a club almost certain to be relegated? Dropping to League One seems an inevitability, and what happens thereafter is anybody's guess. Karl Oyston once proudly declared that our frugal methods help ensure we "won't do a Portsmouth". The reality is that we could well tumble down further and "do a Stockport". It's a pretty grim future on the horizon, unless the ownership of the club changes, which again is unlikely.
Any fond memories of games between the two sides?
Well, it wasn't exactly a thriller but the 1-0 home win last season turned out to be vital in the end when you consider how close we came to relegation. That win was one of five in the opening six games, and the results ground out by Paul Ince in the early part of last season, despite not playing very well, saved the chairman's blushes. This time around, he hasn't been so lucky.
Any not so fond ones?
Sticking on the theme of last season, the result at the Madjeski was obviously a bit one-sided with a 5-1 thrashing for your boys. That came not long after Ince had been sacked and Barry Ferguson was given the unenviable task of seeing the team through to the end of the season. At least our goal was a cracker though!
Who should Reading be wary of on Saturday?
Very good question! It's really hard to pick out any of our players as being much of a threat, as indicated by the low number of goals we've managed this season. We have some 'names' that you'll recognise in Nathan Delfouneso and Ishmael Miller, but both are a shadow of their younger, promising selves. Midfield is disturbingly weak, especially with Cubero injured, so the only bright spots (and even then not that bright!) this season have been at the back really. Joe Lewis has impressed in goal and in many cases limited the damage with some very good saves between the posts. Donervon Daniels has come in on loan from West Brom and has some good attributes, although is still a little raw. Fellow centre back Jeffrey Rentmeister has also started to earn some plaudits in recent weeks too.
Who are Blackpool fans not looking forward to facing?
Any team in the Championship! Seriously, never have I known such a pessimistic mood among supporters and it's with good reason. We've won just four games in the entirety of 2014 and defeat is expected as par for the course, anything else being a bonus. With regards to individual players in blue and white hoops, there are quite a few recognisable faces in the squad and it does make you wonder why you're struggling so badly - it's no wonder Adkins is under pressure. I think Glenn Murray was a great signing and Pavel Pogrebnyak offers a big unit as a target man too, but actually I think they're the sort of players we are built to handle with the strong centre backs we have. It's pace I'm more worried about and as such it'll be interesting to see how we cope with the likes of Jamie Mackie and Simon Cox.
I'm not sure I can see us scoring sadly, but if we can get organised then maybe we can take advantage of your poor form and nick a dull 0-0. That's the dream right there.
Thanks again to Chris and you can follow him on twitter@onedavebamber