Lee Clark is determined his Blackpool team will not go down in history as the worst ever in football’s second tier.
With just 22 points this season so far, the Championship’s bottom side need five more from their seven remaining games to beat Stockport County’s all-time low of 26 points at this level, then the First Division, in 2001-02. Blackpool have managed just four wins out of 39 games, with a staggering goal difference of -48.
The Easter double-header – away to Bolton Wanderers today and at home to Reading on Tuesday – is likely to see Blackpool’s relegation confirmed, but for Clark, there is still pride at stake.
“We don’t want records like that on our heads,” he told the Blackpool Gazette. “We want to finish the season on a relative high and make sure we win some games.
“We all have to get out of this mentality of losing games, which is a big problem around this club at the moment.”
Blackpool, a Premier League side only four years ago, were bottom of the table when Clark took charge in October, but Jose Riga’s replacement was confident he could keep the Seasiders in the Championship.
However, results have hardly improved and Clark now admits he underestimated the task. “I’d be lying if I didn’t say it’s been tougher than I thought,” he said. “I knew the team were bottom of the table and struggling, but I was probably met with other things you don’t see when you come in from the outside.
“I’m the manager of the club, though, and I’m not pleased we’ll be going down.”
Chairman Karl Oyston has refused to speak publicly since Christmas and, in the absence of any other senior figures at the club, it has fallen to Clark alone to explain the mess. And that’s something else he admits has been tough.
“I’ve found myself almost like the spokesperson for the club. I’m the only one talking,” he said. “The fans have heard a lot from me, and I am a big believer you should walk the walk. At the moment I’ve done a lot of talking and it’s soon time for me to walk the walk. I have to deliver here for the fans.”
Bolton, meanwhile, are 10 points above the drop zone and can virtually assure a fourth successive season of Championship football if they pick up three points.
“Our home record is good so we’re expecting to go out, be positive and win the game,” said manager Neil Lennon. “That will more or less cement our place in the league next year. Blackpool have had a really difficult season and Lee Clark’s had an impossible job there. I don’t know how they’ll approach the game but we’ll try and get on the front foot and take the game to them.”
Elsewhere today, Reading could give a first start to striker Kwesi Appiah at home to Cardiff. The 24-year-old Ghana striker has joined from Crystal Palace on loan until the end of the season. Manager Steve Clarke could also hand a debut to young midfielder Nathan Ake, who is on loan for a month from Chelsea, as Nathaniel Chalobah and Simon Cox are injury doubts.
Cardiff forwards Federico Macheda and Alex Revell could miss the trip with back injuries.
Sheffield Wednesday pair Jérémy Hélan and Will Keane are struggling to shake off injuries in time to face Yorkshire rivals Huddersfield, who could hand a debut to 21-year-old Manchester United loanee Reece James.Reuse content