This week for the seventh time Bristol Rovers will face a team higher in the table. It will be 18 years since Rovers last entertained the Seasiders and both clubs have experienced ups and downs in that time.
Having been in the Premier League as recently as 2011the Tangerines suffered a rapid decline to the basement Division but bounced back immediately beating Exeter in the Play-Off Final and earned themselves the title of most successful Play-Off Finalists with 5 victories from 8 Finals.
The Fylde Coast team have done well so far with 5 wins, 2 draws and just one defeat in their eight games. That defeat came in the opening day of the season at Bradford.
On Saturday as Rovers were being thumped just down the road at Wigan, Blackpool saw off Oxford, 3-1.
Blackpool were ahead after six minutes when Kyle Vassell’s left-foot strike from outside the area went in off the post.
With just 15 minutes on the clock, the Seasiders were 2-0 to the good as Callum Cooke produced a carbon copy of the first goal.
James Henry gave the Yellows some hope in the 89th minute as he tapped home a rebound but any hope was extinguished as a Vassell free-kick found the back of the net in added time.
Blackpool Boss Gary Bowyer was happy with the way his team played, “A very pleasing performance, especially in the first half with two very good goals. We created numerous opportunities and I couldn’t believe it was only 2-0.”
“This group keeps getting better and wants to improve. You could see that in the performance, especially in the first half.
"This group also likes to make you sweat in the second half. It was very similar to the Oldham game here but what we did this time was we learned from that.”
“We knew Oxford would come at us because they have quality throughout the team. I think we’ve learned our lessons from that game. We knew they would come at us, so it was important we were disciplined off the ball and it was important we were organised. We limited them in the first half to only one chance and second half it was important we were organised.”
There have been a total of 32 meetings between the clubs over the years and they all came in the years between 1974-2000 and all in our current Division.
The first game took place at Eastville on 28 September 1974 and the away team came away with both points (just two for a win in those days). Paul Hart, Micky Walsh and substitute Stuart Parker scoring for Blackpool and Bruce Bannister scoring a penalty for Rovers. The return match at Bloomfield Road on 15 March 1975 saw a battling 0-0 draw.
Paul Hart, Micky Walsh and substitute Stuart Parker scoring for Blackpool and Bruce Bannister scoring a penalty for Rovers. The return match at Bloomfield Road on 15 March 1975 saw a battling 0-0 draw.
Things were better for Rovers the following season as they won 4-1 in Lancashire on 25 October 1975, Wilf Smith, Gordon Fearnely (2) and Bruce Bannister with another penalty for Rovers and Alan Suddick for Blackpool.
The biggest margin in these games came on 21 February 1987 when goals by Paul Stewart (2), Mark Taylor (2), Craig Madden and Mike Davis saw Blackpool notch 6 to Rovers single goal from David Mehew.
Possibly GasHeads all tie favourite game would have taken place on 5 May 1990 as Rovers secured the 1989-90 Third Division Championship with a 3-0 win at Bloomfield Road David Mehew, Phil Purnell and Paul Nixon all scored to score a famous victory.
The last time the teams crossed paths in Bristol was on 2 October 1999 as Rovers won a Division 2 game 3-1 Jamie Cureton (2) and Jason Roberts scored for Rovers and John Murphy for Blackpool.
Gary Bowyer has used this week to take a look at some trialists “We’ve managed to get some in to have a look at and one or two of them have done very well. It’s something that we want to explore, but that’s the easy bit, just getting them in.”
“It’s been a little bit of a call to the rest of the squad that they’ve got to keep on top of their game as well. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that competition. We’ve had a couple out injured and we’ve been stretched with our numbers. If we could bring one or two in, that would certainly help us over the coming weeks.”
“We’ve got three games coming up in a week now and there’ll be some changes in the team throughout that week, so it was a really good time to get that in for the players.”
Meanwhile, striker Kyle Vassell has praised the club’s new players for the way they have settled into life at Bloomfield Road. “It’s not the same squad that got us promoted but we have a good core of it. The boys the gaffer has brought in have been brilliant. They want the same thing and that’s why we’re doing well.”