Blackpool try to end 41 year drought

It was 20th November 1976 when a Blackpool team last won a game at The Valley. In front of a crowd of 12,059 they were 2-0 up at half time and, despite conceding a 69th minute own goal, they hung on to prevail 2-1. One of their goals was scored by Mickey Walsh and I struggle to remember any game against Charlton from that era when Mickey Walsh didn't score.

Since then the Seasiders have lost five and drawn three in SE7, although the three draws have come from their last three visits, the most recent of which was in December 2014 when an 89th minute equaliser from Steve Davies gave them a 2-2 draw in front of 15,411.

Both teams approach the game in desperate form. Blackpool have won only one of their last nine league games and have lost the last three, albeit against Shrewsbury, Rotherham and Blackburn. They have slipped from seventh to thirteenth place since the middle of October.  Meanwhile they have been ditched from the FA Cup by Boreham Wood. News that the Oyston family have put the club up for sale to pay off minority shareholder Valeri Belokon does not seem to have given the team any sort of shot in the arm.

Charlton's 2-1 victory over Rochdale in mid November is their only win in the last six games and they hang on in the play-off spots only by dint of goals scored. Even though Portsmouth have to visit Shrewsbury on Saturday it is far from impossible that they could have replaced us by the time the final whistles blow. Charlton's injury woes continue with Clarke, Pearce, Forster-Caskey, Fosu, Holmes, Kashi and Bauer apparently side lined for this weekend. Can it just be luck that Chris Powell never seemed to have this sort of problem six years ago?

The actual attendance on Saturday is likely to be the lowest at a game for many years and there may even be fewer in the ground than were in attendance for the first game back at The Valley. Those who are there will not be full of optimism and it is really essential that Karl Robinson manages to coax a positive start from whatever eleven he is able to put out on the pitch. Otherwise a defeatist atmosphere will develop which could become self-fulfilling.

However, if the small crowd can pick up something positive from the team, it may be that an attritional spirit will grow similar to that for the Bristol Rovers game. Our guess is that this will happen and the Blackpool's 41 year wait will continue.