A mid-week FA Cup replay sees League One Blackpool host Championship side Reading in what promises to be a tough test for both sides, as Mark Bowen looks set to make wholesale changes to his starting eleven.
There are doubts as to whether Charlie Adam will make the trip up to Lancashire to face the side where he became a legend, leading the Seasiders to the Premier League back in 2011. He scored a brilliant free kick at Wembley as Blackpool came out victorious against Cardiff City in the playoff final, in a thrilling 3-2 win. They have endured tough times since then, slipping down the divisions, although they now seem to be on their way back up.
Here’s everything you need to know ahead of this FA Cup third-round replay tie at Bloomfield Road.
What? FA Cup Round 3 Replay
Where? Bloomfield Road
When? Tuesday 14th January 2020 (7:45pm KO)
The last meeting
Reading 2-2 Blackpool (oh, and our last FA Cup clash as well)
The home side came very close to opening the score early on, with Sam Baldock’s flick on a Garath McCleary cross hitting the post, before Blackpool opened the scoring. Matty Virtue’s cross from the left-hand side was headed back across the face of goal by Arnand Gnanduillet into the path of Nathan Delfouneso, who headed the ball past Sam Walker. Could Walker have done better? Perhaps so.
Reading managed to get themselves back into the game early on in the second half. Michael Olise’s throw ball to Baldock was hit first time, catching goalkeeper Howard off guard. Just a couple of minutes later, Blackpool were back in front.
An awkwardly bouncing ball on the halfway line proved to be too difficult for Andre Burley to deal with, as Armand Gnanduillet outpaced the young centre back to run through on goal and slot the ball past Walker to make it 2-1. Could Walker have done better? He needed to get a stronger hand on it.
Reading were back on level terms five minutes later through some nice link up play on the right hand side from Howe and McCleary. The Jamaican’s cross was met with a brilliant flick by Danny Loader, who guided the ball in to the net.
The away side could have won it late on, when Teddy Howe brought down Gnanduillet inside the box. However, the forward’s Panenka attempt came back off the crossbar and Reading managed to scramble it clear through a combination of great work from Richards and Burley (what a block from Burley).
- Reading have conceded seven goals in their last three FA Cup games.
- The Royals started six academy graduates against Blackpool in the tie at the Madejski Stadium. A further five were on the bench.
- Blackpool have failed to keep a clean sheet in their last five league games. A chance for George Puscas to bag a goal or two this midweek?
- The Seasiders have not progressed to the fourth round of the FA Cup since 2017. They lost 2-0 away at Blackburn Rovers that year.
Unlikely but preferable Reading lineup: Southwood, Richards, McIntyre, Miazga, Howe, Rinomhota, Obita, Olise, McCleary, Loader, Puscas
There’s no doubt that Sam Walker could have done better with the goals in the reverse fixture, and this may persuade Mark Bowen to start Luke Southwood on Tuesday so the young goalkeeper can get some minutes in the first team.
Academy graduates Omar Richards and Teddy Howe may get the nod again this midweek, as the pair look to solidify their places in the first team squad. Another academy graduate in Tom McIntyre could also start on Tuesday, after returning from injury. He’s looked very promising in the games he has played so far, let’s hope he can play a more important role next season when Miazga’s loan expires. The American international is likely to partner him at the heart of defence.
The Royals may go for a 4-1-3-2, with Rinomhota as the defensive midfielder and Obita, Olise and McCleary ahead of him supporting the two strikers. Jordan Obita and Garath McCleary are both capable of tracking back to support the younger full backs. McCleary will be especially important in supporting Howe, who’s had limited first team opportunities and only made his debut in the final game of last season against Birmingham City.
George Pucas and Danny Loader could start as a promising duo up top. Both will be looking to get on the scoresheet this week as they look to boost their chances of starting in league games. With Danny Loader’s contract situation as it is now, he may not be getting many chances over the next few months.
The Miazga and McIntyre partnership looks solid on paper, let’s hope they can keep a clean sheet away from home if they start on Tuesday. Loader and/or Puscas are also likely to get on the scoresheet if they are provided with adequate service. I’m going for a narrow 1-0 away win in this FA Cup third round replay.
Score prediction: Blackpool 0-1 Reading
Other FA Cup replay fixtures
Tuesday 14th January (7:45pm KO)
Coventry City vs Bristol Rovers
Newcastle United vs Rochdale
Shrewsbury Town vs Bristol City
Tranmere Rovers vs Watford
Tottenham Hotspur vs Middlesbrough (8:05 pm KO)
Wednesday 15th January (7:45pm KO)
Carlisle United vs Cardiff City
Manchester United vs Wolverhampton Wanderers