Blackpool have had a strong start to their League One campaign, currently sitting in 10th position in the standings. With 34 points from 24 games, the Tangerines’ record is only one point off (having played one game less) their Royal counterparts, with an identical defensive record and having scored only one goal fewer.
However, despite having already defeated Maidstone United and Morecambe 3-1 and 4-1, respectively, in the previous rounds of the FA Cup this season, Blackpool come into this encounter on a poor run of form, having not won in their last five games. With three defeats and only three goals scored, this is seemingly a perfect time to face the Tangerines, especially given the Royals’ fantastic run of form of late.
Lining up in a 4-3-1-2 or 4-2-3-1, Blackpool’s main threat comes from striker Armand Gnanduillet. The towering forward has already scored 12 goals this season; he contributes to almost half their goals and can lead the line with an attacking trio of Nathan Delfouneso, Nathan Thompson and Sullay Kaikai just behind or play up top with Joe Nuttall.
In the middle of the park, skipper Jay Spearing is key, with the former Premier League player offering experience alongside the likes of Liam Feeney. At the back, a defence of Oliver Turton, Ben Heneghan, Ryan Edwards and James Husband has been pretty settled, with experienced goalkeeper Mark Howard in between the sticks.
Usually just edging the possession, Blackpool are a skilled side on the ball but their main source of chances come from crosses into Gnanduillet and wing play from both Feeney and Kaikai, with Delfouneso also a tricky customer. The Tangerines certainly pose a threat in attack, and with an experienced defence will be looking to kick on in 2020.