The season moves into week two and Blackpool F.C. fans must be feeling extremely optimistic. The crowds have returned following the ownership change, and over 11,000 came through the Bloomfield Road turnstiles to witness an opening day win over Bristol Rovers F.C.. It is quite a contrast to the opening home game of last season against Portsmouth F.C. when the attendance was just over 4,000 as thousands stayed away in protest.
Southend will be hoping for a better campaign this season, as The Blues only avoided relegation right at the end of 2018/19. The manager who steered the club to safety, is the vastly experienced Kevin Bond, who for large parts of his coaching career was a trusted assistant to Harry Redknapp. He also had a playing career at Norwich City F.C., Manchester City F.C., Bournemouth F.C., Southampton F.C. and in the U.S. for Seattle Sounders FC.
Goals are always difficult to come by in League One and Southend will be hoping Jamaican striker Theo Robinson can lead the line, although his goals return is not outstanding despite being an experienced performer. The goals return of new striker Brandon Goodship will be interesting to monitor. Brandon was good for over 30 goals a season for non-league Weymouth F.C. for the last two seasons, earning him a move to Southend.
Experience in the midfield comes in the shape of midfielder Mark Milligan, a veteran of 34 years and 79 caps for his native Australia.
Blackpool look to have the credentials to challenge for promotion this season, especially with the return of Manager Simon Grayson, one of the most experienced managers in England. He is a guy who certainly know how to win promotion. In addition, the midfield will continue to be marshaled by ex-Liverpool F.C. player Jay Spearing who can always influence a game at this level. Another key signing could prove to be goalkeeper Jak Alnwick, who has been signed on loan from Glasgow Rangers.
However, the key the Blackpool’s promotion push could come in the form of their striking prowess. If the their two main strikers-Nathan Delfouneso and Armand Gnanduillet fulfill the potential they have shown at various points of their careers. Gnanduillet is always a threat with his height, while Delfouneso may come of age this term and prove the promise he showed when he represented England at every level up to, and including under-21 level.
If those players do not perform, a third striker, Joe Nuttall is waiting in the wings following his move form Blackburn Rovers and could well make an impact this season.
Southend vs Blackpool Prediction
Southend United - 1 Blackpool - 2