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Opposition Lowdown: Mick McCarthy’s Blackpool

Reading return home to Berkshire this weekend, taking on Blackpool at the Select Car Leasing Stadium. Join us as we take a look at the men from Bloomfield Road.

Wigan Athletic v Blackpool - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Dave Howarth - CameraSport via Getty Images


Blackpool finished the 2021/22 season in 16th place in the Championship - it was their first season back in the second tier, having gained promotion through the playoffs the previous campaign.

The Tangerines are firmly in a relegation battle, currently sitting in 23rd place in the league on the same number of points as bottom-placed Wigan Athletic and 22nd-placed Huddersfield Town, four points away from 21st-placed Cardiff City. They have seen seven wins, 10 draws and 16 losses so far this season, with their home form being slightly better than their away form.

The two sides faced each other in the opening game of the season, back in July last year, when Blackpool beat Reading 1-0 at Bloomfield Road with a goal from defender Callum Connolly.

The boss

Mick McCarthy: McCarthy was appointed Blackpool manager in January this year, replacing Michael Appleton, who was sacked after only seven months in charge at Bloomfield Road.

The Yorkshireman began his managerial career at Millwall in 1992, where he started out as player-manager of the Lions. He spent four years at the club before becoming Republic of Ireland manager in 1996, a role he held for over six years, guiding the side to one World Cup campaign in 2002.

Mick McCarthy of Ireland Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

He resigned as manager in November 2002 and then returned to club management the following year, taking over at Sunderland, where he guided the side back to the Premier League in his second full season at the club. McCarthy then became Wolverhampton Wanderers manager where he secured another promotion in 2008/09, and then kept the side in the top flight for two consecutive seasons, before he was sacked by the club in 2012.

A five-and-a-half-year stint at Ipswich Town, a second term with the Republic of Ireland, time in Cyprus with APOEL and Wales with Cardiff followed. McCarthy builds his sides to work hard and stay organised all across the pitch.


Blackpool managed to bring in five new players in January, two of those on permanent deals with midfielder Tom Trybull and defender Curtis Nelson both signing on free transfers. They also utilised the loan market with winger Morgan Rogers (Manchester City), former Tangerine Josh Bowler (Nottingham Forest) and defender Charlie Goode (Brentford) all joining until the end of the season.

Striker Jerry Yates is doubtful for this weekend’s game after picking up a hamstring injury in Blackpool’s midweek game with Blackburn Rovers. New signings Charlie Goode and Tom Trybull and defender Marvin Ekpiteta will definitely miss out with hamstring injuries. Liam Bridcutt, Kevin Stewart, Keshi Anderson and Jake Beesley are also injured but striker Gary Madine will be available following a four-game suspension.

Expected lineup

Maxwell, Gabriel, Connolly, Nelson, Thompson, Dougall, Patino, Bowler, Carey, Rogers, Madine

Key player

Gary Madine: Striker Madine signed for Blackpool in January 2020 following his release from Cardiff City. He started his career at Carlisle United, having made his way through the youth ranks at The Cumbrians. He signed for Sheffield Wednesday in 2011, where he played over 100 games for the club, scoring 28 goals. While at Wednesday he also had loan spells at Carlisle, Coventry City and Blackpool.

Madine then made permanent moves to Bolton Wanderers and Cardiff, before signing for Blackpool, where he has gone on to make 113 appearances, scoring 26 goals. The 32-year-old striker is a physical presence up front, who is strong in the air.

One to watch

Charlie Patino: Patino signed on a season-long loan from Premier League side Arsenal in August last year. The highly rated youngster started his youth career at St Albans City before joining Luton Town at the age of seven and then Arsenal at the age of 11.

He made his Arsenal debut in December 2021, coming off the bench to score in the side’s League Cup quarter-final clash with Sunderland. The 19-year-old has represented England at under-15, under-16, under-17 and under-19 level. He has represented Blackpool 28 times so far this season and has three goals and two assists to his name.

He is a centre midfielder who acts as a playmaker and lists Cesc Fabregas and Santi Cazorla as key influencers in his time at Arsenal.