Tag Archives: bloomfield

Michael Appleton sacked by Blackburn

Appleton sacked by Blackburn after just two months in charge as Rovers look for their FOURTH manager of the season

By
John Drayton

PUBLISHED:

11:24 GMT, 19 March 2013

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UPDATED:

12:10 GMT, 19 March 2013

Blackburn have sacked Michael Appleton after just over two months in charge at Ewood Park.

Rovers have made the decision to wield the axe on a third manager this season following Sunday's 1-1 draw with local rivals Burnley and last week's FA Cup quarter-final defeat to Millwall.

A statement read: 'Blackburn Rovers FC can confirm that Michael Appleton has been relieved of his duties as manager along with assistant manager Ashley Westwood, first team coach Darren Moore and head of senior recruitment Luke Dowling.'

Sacked: Michael Appleton has left Blackburn after just two months

Sacked: Michael Appleton has left Blackburn after just two months

ROVERS MANAGER RECORDS

Michael Appleton
P15 W6 L6 D5

Henning Berg
P10 W1 L3 D6

Steve Kean
P8 W4 L2 D2

The club, without a win in eight games in all competitions, are 18th in the npower Championship table and just four points above the relegation zone.

Appleton left Blackpool to join Blackburn in the new year after just 65 days in charge at Bloomfield Road.

During 67 days in the Rovers job, Appleton won four, drew five and lost six of his 15 matches in charge.

It means that if Blackburn get another manager they will have had same number this season as Manchester United have had since 1972.

The goings on at Ewood Park this season are a far cry from the side that lifted the Premier League trophy in 1995 with Kenny Dalglish in charge and Alan Shearer and Chris Sutton playing up front.

Cut short: Appleton played for Preston but retired early due to injury

Cut short: Appleton played for Preston but retired early due to injury

Going global: Blackburn's global advisor Shebby Singh

Going global: Blackburn's global advisor Shebby Singh

Bottom of the Championship table

Bottom of the Championship table

Paul Ince lands Blackpool manager job – and chance to be son Tom"s boss!

EXCLUSIVE: Ince lands Blackpool job… and the chance to manage his son Tom!

– present

Gordon Strachan and Gavin Strachan
Coventry – 1997-2001

Ince was the latest in a long line to
have talks with Blackpool chairman Karl Oyston and will be unveiled as
the new Bloomfield Road boss.

The 45-year old former MK Dons,
Blackburn and Notts County manager has been out of work since April
2011.

However, he impressed Oyston with his knowledge of Blackpool’s strengths
and weaknesses after watching every one of their games this season.

Father
of Blackpool's star forward Tom Ince, the ex-Manchester United and
Liverpool midfielder has agreed to retain assistant manager Steve
Thompson, who has served as caretaker in recent weeks, as his No 2.

Paul was in the crowd last week to see 21-year-old Tom score for England Under 21s in their 4-0 win over Sweden.

Back in the game: Ince's last job in management ended with the sack from Notts County in April 2011

Back in the game: Ince's last job in management ended with the sack from Notts County in April 2011

Lionheart: Ince had a top class career as a player with England, Manchester United, Liverpool and Inter Milan

Lionheart: Ince had a top class career as a player with England, Manchester United, Liverpool and Inter Milan

But Ince Snr was spotted getting a clip round the ear from wife Claire
for sitting in silent appreciation of his son's goal on the rebound late
in the first half as though he'd seen him score for England a
million times before.

Claire, by contrast, was right on her feet and jumping about in
celebration – before whacking her husband to encourage him to liven up!

Bright future: England U21 star Tom Ince has attracted interest from Liverpool and Reading, among others

Bright future: England U21 star Tom Ince has attracted interest from Liverpool and Reading, among others

Bright future: Young Lion Tom Ince has attracted interest from Liverpool and Reading among others

Bright future: Young Lion Tom Ince has attracted interest from Liverpool and Reading among others

VIDEO Watch Paul Ince get a clip round the ear from his missus – for not celebrating son Tom's goal!

Sean O"Driscoll is the frontrunner for the Blackpool job

EXCLUSIVE: O'Driscoll the shock name for Blackpool job

By
John Edwards

PUBLISHED:

21:31 GMT, 11 January 2013

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UPDATED:

21:33 GMT, 11 January 2013

Sean O’Driscoll has emerged as a shock frontrunner for the Blackpool job and could be confirmed as Michael Appleton’s successor in the next 24 hours.

After agreeing a compensation package with Blackburn for the loss of Appleton, who watched his new team from the stands against Wolves at Molineux, Blackpool were expected to move for Bradford boss Phil Parkinson.

Heir apparent: Sean O'Driscoll is being lined up for the Blackpool job. He was sacked from Nottingham Forest on Boxing Day after beating Leeds 4-2

Heir apparent: Sean O'Driscoll is being lined up for the Blackpool job. He was sacked from Nottingham Forest on Boxing Day after beating Leeds 4-2

But Sportsmail understands they have turned their attention to former Nottingham Forest manager O’Driscoll and are close to striking an agreement to install him as their new manager.

After being controversially sacked by Forest, despite taking them to the fringes of the play-off places, O’Driscoll turned down an approach from Barnsley, after speaking to Oakwell officials but deciding the job was not for him.

Taking the reins at Blackpool is viewed as a different proposition, though, and he looks to be on the verge of a swift return to Championship management, with Parkinson waiting in the wings, should the deal hit a last-minute hitch.

Enlarge

Quick exit: Michael Appleton (pictured) has left to join Blackburn - he was only in charge at Bloomfield Road for just two months

Quick exit: Michael Appleton (pictured) has left to join Blackburn – he was only in charge at Bloomfield Road for just two months

Liverpool have not made new bid for Tom Ince – Michael Appleton

No new Liverpool offer for 7m-rated Ince, claims Blackpool boss Appleton

By
John Drayton

PUBLISHED:

10:10 GMT, 2 January 2013

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UPDATED:

10:11 GMT, 2 January 2013

Blackpool manager Michael Appleton insists Liverpool have yet to return with an improved offer for winger Thomas Ince.

The 20-year-old initially left Anfield 18 months ago and has blossomed at Bloomfield Road, scoring 13 goals in the Championship this season.

Wanted: Thomas Ince is expected to complete his return to Liverpool

Wanted: Thomas Ince is expected to complete his return to Liverpool

Liverpool had an offer rejected for Ince last month and Appleton is confident the youngster will be in the side to face Fulham in the FA Cup on Saturday.

'We have not heard anything since an initial Liverpool approach a couple of weeks ago,' he said.

'As far as I am aware Thomas will have a day off tomorrow like everyone else and come back to prepare for the next game with us.'

Back in the day: Ince (right) played for Liverpool before leaving for Blackpool

Back in the day: Ince (right) played for Liverpool before leaving for Blackpool

Blackpool are believed to be holding out for 7million a player who left Liverpool for just 250,000 in compensation.

Liverpool manager Brendan Rogers is
planning to unveil a new attack in January with Chelsea's Daniel
Sturridge set to join in the coming days.

Blackpool v Hull – match report

Blackpool 0 Hull 0: All square at Bloomfield Road with keepers on form

PUBLISHED:

18:16 GMT, 1 January 2013

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UPDATED:

00:37 GMT, 2 January 2013

Goalkeepers Matt Gilks and Eldin Jakupovic earned their respective sides a share of the points with crucial second-half saves in a game of few chances at Bloomfield Road.

Blackpool's Gilks pulled off a flying save to keep out Hull midfielder David Meyler's goalbound shot in the 60th minute, while opposite number Jakupovic was at full stretch himself to turn away a vicious 25-yard effort from the home side's coveted Thomas Ince in the 85th minute.

Thomas Ince shoots

Spurned: Both teams had good chance to win but were denied at either end

Jakupovic, a Bosnian-born Switzerland international, then made another fine save in the second minute of time added on to keep out Seasiders' substitute Nathan Delfouneso's shot and ensure Hull stretched their unbeaten league run to eight matches.

MATCH FACTS

Blackpool: Gilks,Eardley, Broadfoot, Baptiste, Crainey, Osbourne, Sylvestre, Basham, Ince, Taylor-Fletcher (Dicko 80),Thomas (Delfouneso 66).

Subs: Halstead, Kevin Phillips, Cathcart, Martinez,Harris.

Booked: Taylor-Fletcher.

Hull: Jakupovic, Chester, Faye, Hobbs, Rosenior, Meyler, Evans (Bruce 83), Quinn, Brady, Koren (Simpson 46), Aluko (Proschwitz 46).

Subs: Amos, Cairney, McShane, Olofinjana.

Att: 13,691

Referee: Anthony Taylor (Cheshire).

Click here for all the latest Championship table, fixtures and results

Hull, who had won six of their previous seven npower Championship matches, remain second in the table, while Blackpool, for all their late pressure, have now won only one of their last six league matches.

Midfield pair Ludovic Sylvestre and Isaiah Osbourne, plus defender Neal Eardley returned to Blackpool's starting line-up, while Liam Rosenior stepped in at right-back for Hull in place of the injured Ahmed Elmohamady.

Neither side could fashion a chance worthy of note in the first 20 minutes save for Hull's on-loan Sunderland midfielder Meyler, who dragged an angled shot from the left side of the penalty area off target.

The visitors threatened again in the 22nd minute when striker Sone Aluko flashed a 25-yard shot wide and it was not until the 29th minute that Blackpool's coveted winger Ince fired his side's first shot on goal straight at Jakupovic.

The Seasiders enjoyed their best spell from the half-hour mark, with striker Gary Taylor-Fletcher and Ince both prominent, but failed to test Jakupovic again before the half-time whistle.

Steve Bruce

Stalemate: Steve Bruce's side remain in second place after today's draw

Hull manager Steve Bruce replaced Aluko and midfielder Robert Koren for strikers Nick Proschwitz and Jay Simpson at the interval and the latter was straight into the action when his header from Rosenior's cross forced Gilks into a smart save 90 seconds after the restart.

Gilks then held Hull midfielder Robbie Brady's 20-yard free-kick as the visitors went in search of the breakthrough.

Meyler, who has scored three goals in his last four appearances for the Tigers, went closest to the game's opening goal with a superb strike in the 60th minute that prompted a spectacular save from Gilks, whose outstretched arm turned the goalbound shot away for a corner.

Blackpool were dealt a blow soon after when striker Wes Thomas was forced off injured and replaced by Delfouneso before Sylvestre had a rare shot on goal for the home side, firing an angled drive just wide.

The game was finely balanced heading into the final quarter when Blackpool defender Chris Basham fired a 25-yard effort over the crossbar, while at the other end Hull midfielder Corry Evans spurned a gilt-edged chance when he failed to keep his shot from inside the area on target.

Jakupovic flung himself at Ince's 25-yard shot in the closing stages to push the ball away to safety before Delfouneso blazed over the crossbar from inside the area in stoppage time.

Thomas Ince prepared to see out season at Blackpool as Liverpool argue over 6m fee

Ince prepared to be patient and see out season at Blackpool as Liverpool argue over 6m fee

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UPDATED:

09:44 GMT, 20 December 2012

Thomas Ince is prepared to sit tight at Blackpool and run down his contract if the Championship club fail to agree a fee with Liverpool.

Ince, 20, believed the deal with Brendan Rodgers' side was almost done, but there is hitch over the price.

The England Under 21 winger's contract at Bloomfield Road is up at the end of the season and an FA tribunal would have to set the fee.

Man in the middle: Liverpool want to sign Blackpool winger Thomas Ince

Man in the middle: Liverpool want to sign Blackpool winger Thomas Ince

Blackpool want 6m for Ince, but Liverpool are offering substantially less for a player they released 18 months ago.

Liverpool still have a 30 per cent sell-on clause in Ince's contract, but the Blackpool wideman is determined to return to Anfield.

He has scored 13 times for Michael Appleton's side and has contributed 15 assists from his position on the wing.

Blackpool are already in dialogue with Liverpool about the January move, but it is being held up by the Tangerines' playing hardball.

Rodgers, who is short of attacking options because of Andy Carroll's loan move to West Ham and the long-term injury to Fabio Borini, needs the deal done in the transfer window.

Blackpool 2 Blackburn 0 match report: Wes Thomas and Kirk Broadfoot put Henning Berg under more pressure

Blackpool 2 Blackburn 0: Appleton's unbeaten run goes on but it's more gloom for Berg

PUBLISHED:

17:25 GMT, 15 December 2012

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UPDATED:

17:25 GMT, 15 December 2012

Blackpool netted a goal in each half to see off Blackburn and maintain boss Michael Appleton's unbeaten start to life at Bloomfield Road.

Rovers had more than their fair share of chances in the first half but Wes Thomas had headed Blackpool in front by the time Simon Vukcevic rattled the post for the visitors.

Henning Berg's side were unable to muster anything like a similar threat in a second half of few chances, and switched off late on to let former Rangers defender Kirk Broadfoot net a first Seasiders goal.

Advantage Blackpool: Wes Thomas hit the first at Bloomfield Road

Advantage Blackpool: Wes Thomas hit the first at Bloomfield Road

Match facts

Blackpool: Gilks, Baptiste, Broadfoot, Cathcart, Harris, Osbourne, Gomes, Martinez, Delfouneso, Thomas (Taylor-Fletcher 69), Ince (Dicko 82). Subs not used: Halstead, Eardley, Kevin Phillips, Noguera, Bruna.

Goals: Thomas 22, Broadfoot 81.

Blackburn: Kean, Henley, Dann, Givet, Martin Olsson, Vukcevic (Rochina 74), Lowe, Etuhu, King, Rhodes, Kazim-Richards. Subs not used: Robinson, Dunn, Pedersen, Grant Hanley, Ribeiro, Rosado.

Booked: King.

Att: 15,907.

Ref: Graham Scott.

The latest Championship table, fixtures and results

Appleton has now masterminded two
wins from three outings, having begun his tenure as Ian Holloway's
replacement with four consecutive draws.

The result moves Blackpool three
points and four places above Blackburn, who are floundering in 15th
place in the npower Championship having won once during Berg's nine
matches at the helm.

Bob Harris enjoyed his second start
of the season for Blackpool at left-back in place of the suspended
Steven Crainey, while Gary Taylor-Fletcher was named among the
substitutes after recovering from a hamstring injury.

Berg sprung a surprise by dropping
former England goalkeeper Paul Robinson and naming Jake Kean in his
starting XI – one of four changes to the Blackburn side thrashed 4-1 by
Cardiff eight days ago as Gael Givet, Colin Kazim-Richards and Vukcevic
earned recalls.

Blackpool were perhaps surprised by
the sight of on-loan Galatasaray forward Kazim-Richards launching a
long-throw in the second minute and Vukcevic was allowed space to fire
over.

The visitors were quickest out of the
blocks and Seasiders defender Craig Cathcart required a last-ditch
challenge to deny Jordan Rhodes from Kazim-Richards' cross, before Matt
Gilks made saves in quick succession to thwart Rhodes and Vukcevic.

Opening his account: Kirk Broadfoot (back right) nods Blackpool's second - his first for the club since joining from Rangers

Opening his account: Kirk Broadfoot (back right) nods Blackpool's second – his first for the club since joining from Rangers

It was therefore against the run of
play when Nathan Delfouneso crossed from the left for Thomas to glance
in with the assistance of a statuesque Blackburn defence in the 24th
minute.

Dickson Etuhu had a chance to bring
Blackburn level after the half hour but shot wide from Josh King's
clipped cross as Blackpool failed to fully clear a corner.

Kean was nearly caught out by a
clever Tiago Gomes free-kick from the left before Scott Dann produced a
vital block to divert an Ince effort at the end of a solo run into the
side netting.

But it was almost all-square at the break as Vukcevic rattled the post with a shot on the turn.

Kazim-Richards and Thomas both hobbled back into the action following injury scares during a scrappy start to the second half.

England Under 21 winger Ince appeared
the most likely source of extending Blackpool's lead and, after
breaking free of the Rovers defence to test Kean low to his right, he
exchanged passes with Harris for the latter to fire over in the 65th
minute.

Harris managed to extend Kean when
the Rovers keeper pushed a rasping free-kick behind, but the points were
made safe from the resulting corner.

Gomes' outswinging delivery from the right found Broadfoot to thump home unmarked with nine minutes to play.

Givet thought he had a consolation
but was flagged offside before Dann almost compounded Rovers' misery by
heading against his own post in stoppage time.

Daniel Sturridge and Thomas Ince move closer to Liverpool switch

Sturridge and Ince edge closer to Liverpool switch as Rodgers plans 18m winter raid

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UPDATED:

00:16 GMT, 12 December 2012

Liverpool will unveil a new 18million strike force in January after taking significant steps to securing deals for Daniel Sturridge and Thomas Ince.

It has been Brendan Rodgers wish for Liverpool to get their business in the New Year done early and they now are on the brink of landing their two prime targets.

Chelsea forward Sturridge is expected to cost Liverpool in the region of 12million, while they will have to pay Blackpool in the region of 6million to take Ince back to Anfield 18 months after letting him leave for 250,000.

Double bubble: Sturridge and Ince look set for a switch to Anfield

Double bubble: Sturridge and Ince look set for a switch to Anfield

Double bubble: Sturridge and Ince look set for a switch to Anfield

Sturridge, who is currently in Japan with Chelsea at the Club World Cup, almost joined Liverpool in August but did not want to move on an initial loan deal. Rodgers, though, has remained an admirer and his transfer will be completed when the window opens.

Ince, meanwhile, will also be brought in to ease the burden on leading scorer Luis Suarez. He left Anfield in August 2011 and has since made eye-catching progress at Bloomfield Road, winning five England Under 21 caps this season.

Rodgers said last month he was looking for players “who would really help take the club forward” and both 20-year-old Ince and Sturridge, 23, fit the criteria of players who Liverpool look to buy. Rodgers remains keen on Arsenal’s Theo Walcott but he would be a signing for next summer.

It promises to be a significant transfer window for how Rodgers shapes Liverpool’s squad. He remains on the look-out for a left-back, as Stewart Downing has been told he is free to leave if they receive a suitable offer.

But whether Joe Cole follows suit is not certain. The former England midfielder made a significant contribution to Sunday's 3-2 win at West Ham, scoring Liverpool’s crucial second goal and Rodgers has challenged Cole to maintain that form.

'I'm just going along game by game,’
said Rodgers. ‘It's not just about the games. Every player gets a chance
every single day to show what they are all about. Joe just has to
continue to look to get that consistency in his fitness. He's a terrific
lad and I feel for him at times. He's working so hard.’

Short on options: Liverpool are relying heavily on Suarez with Carroll out on loan

Short on options: Liverpool are relying heavily on Suarez with Carroll out on loan

Short on options: Liverpool are relying heavily on Suarez with Carroll out on loan

Cole has never given any indication that he wants to leave Anfield and has stated several times his determination to become a success on Merseyside. He hopes to use his performance at Upton Park as a catalyst for a prolonged spell in the squad.

'I am going in every day and just giving my all,’ said Cole. ‘That is all I can do. When I am called upon, I will do the best job that I can. My only focus is on the next game and trying to keep my place in the squad for when we play Aston Villa.

'We are trying to push on to get our third win in a row and take the club forward. The goal meant a lot to me because it came at a crucial time in an important game.

'It has been difficult recently but I have scored in my last two appearances and I want to keep the sequence going if I can.'

Attacking options: Rodgers knows he has to boost his front line

Attacking options: Rodgers knows he has to boost his front line

Wes Thomas gets revenge on Ian Holloway

On the road: Ollie gets payback for an old rejection as Blackpool scrape point

By
Riath Al-samarrai

PUBLISHED:

22:35 GMT, 9 December 2012

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UPDATED:

22:35 GMT, 9 December 2012

It's a hell of a thing to carry a grudge for seven years against a man who doesn’t recall ever having met you.

Wes Thomas wasn’t shy last week in talking about the deeper meaning to his appearance on Saturday for Blackpool against Crystal Palace.

He had a score to settle with Ian Holloway, he said — and to judge from his bulging eyeballs as he mocked Palace’s fans 89 minutes into the game, he felt the mission was successful.

Revenge mission: Wes Thomas was released by Ian Holloway at QPR

Revenge mission: Wes Thomas was released by Ian Holloway at QPR

Blackpool’s striker, borrowed from Bournemouth three weeks ago, had just created the late equaliser for Nouha Dicko with a delightful run and cross from the right. For Blackpool it meant a point from a 2-2 draw; for Palace it meant two dropped in pursuit of Cardiff.

For Thomas it meant a smidgen of revenge against the man in charge when he was cut from QPR’s youth ranks as an 18-year-old.

‘Ian Holloway is the one who released me when I was at QPR, so Saturday is a game I’m really looking forward to,’ Thomas had said ahead of the match. ‘I took it quite hard. It’s my chance to show Holloway I’m back.’

Thomas, 25, went on to speak about the pain of rejection, the uncertainty he felt as he fought his way back to the professional game via Waltham Forest, Fisher Athletic and various other non-League sides. It was a touching tale.

Alas, Holloway said: ‘Don’t know him at all. But he looks a good player.’

Thomas would have stood out to Holloway even if he was lousy. Of the 14 players Blackpool used on Saturday, Thomas was the only one who did not work under Holloway in his three-and-a-half years at Bloomfield Road, a relationship that ended on November 3 amid some mystery.

Holloway’s line has been that he
fancied a fresh challenge and a move back to his family in the south;
others suggest he was unhappy with elements of his rolling contract.

Familiar faces: Ian Holloway welcomed his old side to Selhurst Park

Familiar faces: Ian Holloway welcomed his old side to Selhurst Park

What was initially presented as an amicable split — or as amicable as these things ever are — has recently evolved via insider testimonies into something a little more strained.

Ian Evatt did not play for Blackpool on Saturday because of a knee problem but he was there through Holloway’s best years in management, when he took them up to the Premier League in 2010, came within a whisker of keeping them there, and then reached the play-off final last season.

Evatt’s still there now, playing under Michael Appleton and a fortnight ago offered an intriguing and alarming insight into the final months of the Holloway regime. ‘I think we both needed a change,’ Evatt said. ‘In the last couple of months, we hadn’t really done much training. We had numerous days off — anything from two to five or six at a time.

‘It was as surprising to the lads as
anyone else. We’re an honest bunch of players and we want to work hard,
but at times we weren’t doing that.’

For their part, the Blackpool fans were largely respectful.

They clapped Holloway on and they
clapped him off. But in between, when Blackpool took the lead through
Nathan Delfouneso, they sang: ‘Ollie, Ollie, what’s the score’

‘They weren’t singing that when we went 2-1 up,’ Holloway said later.

Party time: Michael Appleton celebrates after Blackpool equalise

Party time: Michael Appleton celebrates after Blackpool equalise

There was an element of anger in his tone but not as much as he reserved for a member of Appleton’s staff.

‘I didn’t like the reaction of one of the men on their bench,’ he said. ‘One of the new fellas looked straight at me when they equalised. It’s a war out there, and I carried my shield very proudly.

‘He didn’t stare me out. No one can stare me out. I know Michael wouldn’t have done something like that. He’s got more about him than that. But I didn’t look round at them when we scored, did I

‘I was at Blackpool a long time and had great times, but you have to move on.’

Easier said than done. Just ask Wes.

Whither Wilfried now

Where will Wilfried go next It’s a question Stephen Crainey, Blackpool’s left back, struggled with for the better part of 90 minutes on Saturday.

It was not Zaha’s best game for Palace — not by a long shot — but most of his errors only came after he skinned his marker and had plenty of time to decide what to do next.

He really is a wonderfully exciting talent and one with a very bright future. But the feeling is that Saturday’s performance, in particular during the second half, was better than most he has managed since his England call-up to face Sweden last month.

Waiting game: Wilfried Zaha (right) has a number of Premier League admirers

Waiting game: Wilfried Zaha (right) has a number of Premier League admirers

Holloway seems to blame the dip on speculation surrounding the 20-year-old, with some reports claiming Arsenal are close to signing him, while one on Sunday said Manchester United are preparing a 10million January move that would see Zaha loaned back to Palace for the rest of the season.

Holloway said: ‘The last thing we need is for him to get confused about how good he is and what he can do. He just has to start concentrating on what he was doing well this year.’

Crainey will testify that he’s very close to finding his best form again.

By the way…

It's clear AFC Wimbledon were right to be wary of the hype surrounding the FA Cup clash with MK Dons. They know their real challenge lies in League Two, and their failure to win on Saturday leaves them just one point clear of the relegation zone.

Blackpool 1 Birmingham 1 – match report: Curtis Davies heads equaliser

Blackpool 1 Birmingham 1: Davies header stops rot and denies Appleton first victory

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UPDATED:

22:21 GMT, 27 November 2012

Curtis Davies' equaliser early in the second half saw Birmingham avoid a third successive defeat and handed Michael Appleton a fourth draw in as many matches as Blackpool manager.

Having watched them battle back from behind in each of his first three games at the helm, Appleton was granted the unfamiliar pleasure of the Seasiders taking a 17th-minute lead courtesy of Tom Ince's fifth goal in six appearances.

Kevin Phillips had a close range effort ruled out for offside seven minutes later, while Birmingham offered virtually nothing by way of an attacking threat in the opening period.

Davies delight: Birmingham defender Curtis celebrates (above) after scoring (below) at Bloomfield Road

Davies delight: Birmingham defender Curtis celebrates (above) after scoring (below) at Bloomfield Road

Davies delight: Birmingham defender Curtis celebrates (above) after scoring (below) at Bloomfield Road

MATCH FACTS

Blackpool: Gilks, Broadfoot, Baptiste, Cathcart, Crainey, Basham, Gomes, Osbourne (Thomas 72), Ince, Kevin Phillips (Dicko 79), Delfouneso.

Subs Not Used: Halstead, Eardley, Sylvestre, Martinez, Harris.

Booked: Basham.

Goals: Ince 17.

Birmingham: Butland, Caddis, Davies, Ibanez, Robinson, Lovenkrands (Burke 74), Morrison, Mullins (Diop 76), Spector, Elliott, King (Zigic 90).

Subs Not Used: Doyle, Caldwell, Hancox, Reilly.

Booked: Diop.

Goals: Davies 48.

Att: 13,111

Ref: Craig Pawson (South Yorkshire).

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE LATEST CHAMPIONSHIP TABLE, FIXTURES AND RESULTS

Davies headed Blues level, as he had done in the second leg of their play-off semi-final defeat to Blackpool last term.

Birmingham forward Peter Lovenkrands
came closest to finding a winner when he venomously tested the crossbar,
but Lee Clark's men remain 19th in the npower Championship table with
two wins in their last 11 outings.

Blackpool are also struggling to recreate last season's form and sit three places and four points better off.

Appleton made two expected changes to his starting line-up, naming Tiago Gomes and Isaiah Osbourne in central midfield.

Gomes replaced Elliot Grandin after 29 minutes of Saturday's 2-2 draw against Watford, with Pool 2-0 down at the time.

Osbourne took Ludo Sylvestre's place at the interval and went on to net the last-minute equaliser.

Lovenkrands was another player
rewarded for a goalscoring cameo at the weekend as he dislodged Nikola
Zigic in the Birmingham attack.

Zigic joined Steven Caldwell and Chris Burke on the bench as Clark selected Pablo Ibanez and Paul Caddis in his back four.

Glove affair: Tom Ince (right) celebrates with Chris Basham after scoring the first goal

Glove affair: Tom Ince (right) celebrates with Chris Basham after scoring the first goal (below)

Glove affair: Tom Ince (right) celebrates with Chris Basham after scoring the first goal

Ex-Blues striker Phillips was looking
to score against a former club for the second consecutive game and the
39-year-old was involved again when the hosts went in front.

Ibanez blocked Phillips' shot from
Kirk Broadfoot's drilled right-wing cross before Ince collected the
loose ball to calmly stroke home from 18 yards.

Having taken the lead slightly against the run of play, Blackpool looked to press home their advantage.

Nathan Delfouneso had Jack Butland at
full stretch to tip over a dipping effort and Phillips converted from an
offside position after Ince exchanged passes with Gomes to plant a shot
onto the bar.

The pace of Ince and Delfouneso was causing Birmingham problems in wide areas, with Broadfoot supporting ably from right-back.

The former Rangers defender left Paul
Robinson and referee Craig Pawson unimpressed when he took a 34th-minute
tumble in the box.

Seasiders goalkeeper Matt Gilks
enjoyed his first significant action of the half two minutes before the
break when Jonathan Spector's overhit cross from the left forced him to
tip over.

It was therefore unexpected when Gilks
found himself picking the ball out of the net three minutes after the
restart, Davies rising highest to convert Wade Elliot's inswinging
corner.

An intricate move involving Gomes and
Osbourne ended with Blackpool almost retaking the lead when Ibanez
nervously stabbed a clearance against the outside of his own post.

But an even contest had developed and
as the hour approached Lovenkrands slipped the attentions of the
Seasiders backline to rattle the bar with Gilks beaten.

As the goalmouth action threatened to
dry up Ince almost produced a moment of magic, arching a magnificent
25-yard effort just beyond the top corner.

Blackpool felt aggrieved not to be
awarded a penalty in the closing stages when Birmingham substitute Burke
appeared to pull Gomes back.