In their fourth straight year in England’s third tier, Neil Critchley led Blackpool into last season with the aim of finally earning promotion back to the Championship.
While they never mounted a challenge for a top-two spot, a major upturn in form in the second half of the season saw the Tangerines break into the playoff places, eventually finishing in third spot thanks to a run of four straight victories to finish the regular campaign.
That saw them handed a semi-final tie with Oxford United, and Critchley’s men would cruise through to Wembley with a 6-3 aggregate win before a Kenneth Dougall brace overturned an early one-goal deficit to see them defeat Lincoln City 2-1 and book their place back in the second tier of English football.
Coming into the season as relative underdogs, Blackpool earned a creditable point in their opening game, as Shayne Lavery equalised in the 93rd minute to see them draw 1-1 away against Bristol City.
They then built confidence with a resounding 3-0 victory over Middlesbrough in the EFL Cup first round, as Lavery again got on the scoresheet alongside Callum Connolly and Keshi Anderson.
That did not translate into the following league game though, as they suffered a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Cardiff City on Saturday, as Leandro Bacuna put the visiting Bluebirds ahead early in the second half before Kieffer Moore sealed all three points with a late finish.
Critchley’s men will be desperate not to fall behind at an early stage of the season and will go in search of an important first league win to kickstart their campaign and survival bid.
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They take on a Coventry City side who will only be looking up the table this season after last year’s impressive finish.
Upon their promotion back to the Championship, Mark Robins’s side found themselves embroiled in a heated relegation battle, sitting dangerously close to the bottom three at the beginning of March
as Wycombe Wanderers, Rotherham United, Sheffield Wednesday and Birmingham City were all battling to get away from the scramble before the end of the season