This is the final part of our series of guest articles. On The Ponty End has been speaking to supporters of those teams who will be making an appearance in the Championship this year; either as a result of promotion or relegation, last season. We hope you gain just a small insight in to the expectations and inside track on the fresh opposition that Barnsley FC will face this season.

On this occasion, we're delighted to introduce our readers to Blackpool FC Fan John from the excellent blog Tangerine Dreaming

You can also follow the blog on Twitter: @Tanger_Dreaming

Four or five years ago, a new season starting in the championship would have been viewed by most ‘Pool fans as an achievement. A promotion, a brave fight against relegation, those were presumably the reasons for a new season of championship football. Not this time. We are approaching the championship from that most unexpected of angles.

As a club on the way down from the Premier League. Yes, the 'glamorous' English Premier League. That bastion of wealth, hype and occasional brilliance. For a season Blackpool were the poor relations, tipped for rapid relegation. However, that proved not to be the case, stretching out the campaign till the last day of the season. When Blackpool kicked the hornets nest at Old Trafford on the final day the Champions stung them repeatedly before they finally dropped to where so many felt they belonged.

However, is the championship really where Blackpool belonged, after all they defied the odds the previous season to be promoted? It would be a naive person to predict a swift return to the Premier league on the basis of their performances last season. Yes they were good at times, sublime, inspirational and truly worthy of the highest stage in the land. However, defensively Blackpool at times resembled something fit for League One. Poorly structured, organised and lacked the communication, concentration and composure needed when pressure mounts against quality opposition.

With this in mind it might be important to view Blackpool as a side who spent their time in the Premier League becoming a team ready to play in the Championship. Previous Championship campaigns have been prefixed with the word safety, this one may well not hear that word mentioned too often. However, this Blackpool side has lost two of its most inspirational and influential players. Players in Charlie Adam and David Vaughan who excelled in the EPL and earned their right to stay there. Equally, it appears that DJ Campbell is set to leave too.

First and foremost Ian Holloway will have to find the right blend for his first eleven. Arguably this is not his biggest strength, he has shuffled regularly throughout his reign. Without two (or three) of his mainstays, that task becomes all the more harder. It's likely to take him time and a consequence of that could see Blackpool stutter at the start of the campaign. However, given he appears to have a large squad and plenty of options to choose from he should find his blend before the season reaches halfway. Should that side find their rhythm then a strong second half to the campaign might see them finish strongly. Where that takes them, who knows.

On the pitch, the finer details of play will he interesting. Blackpool's approach will be the same. Attacking football, based around possession, short passing, disguise, craft and guile. The acquisition of Barry Ferguson appears a signing to compliment their 4-3-3 structure and ensure that the loss of Vaughan isn't felt too severely. He will pin the midfield together and the other two midfielders will provide the attacking support where necessary. Adam will be replaced not through like for like. Holloway has options here and arguably he'll flex his midfield based on the opposition. He has both defensive and attacking options at his disposal. Up front, arguably there three players to watch. Matty Phillips could really develop into a forward to threaten on any occasion and Billy Clarke will return to full fitness to provide a flexible attacking threat who will shoot on sight. However the key player this season may well be Gary Taylor Fletcher. Creatively he has a lot of tricks and a keen eye for a killer pass. He will drift from his forward position in to midfield and back up front again and should team lose sight of him then they may well be picking the ball out of the back of the net.

Elsewhere Ian Holloway has possibly made his shrewdest moves by giving Matt Gilks and Stephen Crainey new contracts. Keeping them keeps that wealth of skills, experience and knowledge that would have been so hard to replace given time constraints and that there were more obvious holes in the squad that needed filling.

It will be another season of thrills and spills, but arguably a season of solidity and rebuilding would benefit everyone at the seaside in the hope that the following season sees a real tilt at getting back to the the Premier League. If they do that then hopefully won't be staying for one season.

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Ian Wilkinson

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