After suffering a heavy 4-1 defeat to Blackpool in the FA Cup third round last season, Nottingham Forest were on course to crash out at the same stage to the same opponents exactly 365 days later, as they trailed by two goals inside the first 27 minutes against the Tangerines a week last Sunday.
Albie Morgan netted just two minutes and 47 seconds after former Forest man Jordan Lawrence-Gabriel opened the scoring for Blackpool, but the Tricky Trees pulled one back through Nicolas Dominguez on the stroke of half time, before Morgan Gibbs-White netted a stunning 56th-minute equaliser to rescue a replay.
Nuno Espirito Santo was hoping to take his side to St George’s Park in Burton for a bonding session during the winter break, but Forest are forced to “reorganise” their mid-seasons plans as they prepare for their “priority” fixture away at Blackpool.
Forest have since been rocked by the news that they have been charged with breaching the Premier League’s Profit and Sustainability Rules, and the club – who sit 15th in the table and just four points above the relegation zone – have released a statement confirming that they “continue to cooperate fully” on the matter and “are confident of a speedy and fair resolution.”
The Tricky Trees are at risk of receiving a points deduction, but Nuno will be keen to ensure that his players are focused fully on what they can do on the pitch, starting with Wednesday’s FA Cup tie with Blackpool as they endeavour to avoid losing a third successive third-round replay, having previously suffered defeat to Birmingham City (2009-10) and Leicester City (2011-12).
Despite letting a two-goal lead slip in the draw with Forest, Neil Critchley was able to take plenty of positives from the performance of his Blackpool side, who have since claimed back-to-back home victories in two different competitions against Burton Albion and Exeter City.
After claiming a 2-1 win over Burton last week to progress to the quarter-finals of the EFL Trophy, the Tangerines secured a routine 2-0 success against Exeter City in League One last Saturday courtesy of two first-half goals from in-form midfielder Morgan
Blackpool, who remain eighth in the third-tier standings and four points behind the playoffs, have certainly enjoyed playing in front of their home supporters in recent week as they have won nine of their last 10 matches at Bloomfield Road in all competitions – a 2-1 league loss to Northampton Town at the end of November the only blot on their copy book during this run.
The Tangerines are now attempting to continue their run in the FA Cup and advance to the fourth round for the third time in four years, as well as progress from the third round in consecutive seasons for the first time since 1969-70 and 1970-71.
Critchley and co will be confident of success on Wednesday as they have won two of their last four FA Cup ties against top-flight opposition, including the aformentioned triumph over Forest last season, having failed to win any of their previous 11 such matches in the competition.