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by Adam Stubbings

Back to back wins and a few new arrivals mean things are suddenly looking up for Rovers as the Darren Ferguson Era begins to take hold. Steps have been taken to bolster the defence in the past fortnight, whilst Conor Grant has settled well into a new-look midfield that appears to be giving Harry Middleton the chance to cement himself in the first team. Nathan Tyson may be lucky to keep his place on the visit to his former club after failing to find the net despite a hatful of chances in the last two games, with the returning Keshi Anderson competing for a place alongside Andy Williams up front.

The performances have improved game on game since that dreadful and deserved result away at Peterborough in the pouring rain last month, and the adopting of a new formation and new personnel have enabled Darren Ferguson to find his feet and endear himself to the Rovers faithful since his protracted arrival.

Last weekend's victory over Stalybridge saw us advance to Round 2 of the F.A. Cup, whilst Blackpool fell by the wayside in the 1st Round with a 2-0 defeat away to League Two new boys Barnet. The Tangerines followed up that embarrassing result by taking a 4-0 beating at Wigan in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy on Tuesday night, their fourth successive defeat in all competitions that leaves them almost back at square one following a mini-revival sparked by a five match unbeaten run in the league that hauled them off the foot of the table and out of the relegation zone.

Don't be fooled by their recent dip though, this will be a tough test for a Rovers team struggling to find their feet away from home. Blackpool are actually unbeaten in five home games stretching back to a drubbing at the hands of League One pacesetters Walsall at the end of August, with the recent run of defeats all coming away from home. Neil McDonald's side will be relieved to be back on home turf by the sea, and with Rovers suffering bleak defeats at Peterborough and Millwall on their last two road trips, Blackpool may go into the contest as slight favourites despite being two places lower in the table.

The last eight meetings between the two sides all took place in the Championship, with our opponents unbeaten in six including four victories, with one of the two draws being a memorable 3-3 contest at the Keepmoat which saw Jay Emmanuel-Thomas strike sublime individual effort for Blackpool. You have to wonder if that performance is what eventually led to him signing for us later  that season.

Our last victory over the Seasiders came at Bloomfield Road the previous season, an eventful 3-2 victory which saw recent record breaker James Coppinger net the winning goal after débutante Charlie Adam had been sent off for the home side. Adam would of course go on to play an integral role in Blackpool's rise to the Premier League over the following 15 months, capped by scoring a superb free kick in the Play Off Final victory over Cardiff.

Rovers may welcome Keshi Anderson back to the starting line-up, and with Andy Williams back in goalscoring and new signings Felipe Mattioni and Craig Alcock set for league debuts at the back, there is reason for optimism and belief that we can come away from the seaside on Saturday with only a second away win of the season.
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