Fleetwood are currently second in the Conference Premier table and have reached the third round of the FA Cup for the first time in their history. Micky Mellon's team have accounted for two League One sides Wycombe Wanderers and Yeovil Town in the earlier rounds and now they face their Lancashire rivals Blackpool (5/6 to win).
This is only the second time the two clubs have gone head-to-head. The first was also in the FA Cup, with Blackpool prevailing 4-0 at Bloomfield Road in the first round in November 1980 back when Fleetwood were part of the Cheshire League. Now however Fleetwood (29/10 to win) are in the top tier of Non-League Football and are on a good run. They are unbeaten in their last 11 Conference matches winning 9 and drawing 2 of them. In addition they have lost just once in their last 20 matches and beat their promotion rivals Southport 6-0 away from home on New Years’ Day.
Their opponents Blackpool are currently just outside the play-off places in the Championship some 67 places above them. But Ian Holloway’s side have lost their last five FA Cup matches and have exited the competition at this stage for the last 4 seasons.
Blackpool have lost just two of their last 11 matches but have only won three times away from Bloomfield Road in the Championship this season. The Seasiders (8/13 First team to Score)have also conceded the vast majority of their goals on the road this season (23 out of 31). Top scorer Kevin Phillips has seven goals this season with his last one in the league coming against Millwall on the 5th November. More recently Blackpool’s goals have come from midfielder Matt Phillips (no relation) who has 4 goals in his last 3 games since returning from a loan spell at Sheffield.
Fleetwood striker Richard Brodie, who scored two goals before being sent off in the 6-0 victory at Southport last weekend, is suspended. However, midfielder Jamie McGuire returns from the suspension that ruled him out of that win.
Blackpool's reserve goalkeeper Mark Howard will continue to deputise for Matt Gilks, who is still suffering from a groin problem. They are also without suspended captain Barry Ferguson.