After bouncing straight back up to League One as play-off winners in 2016/17, Blackpool achieved a solid mid-table finish last season under the strong guidance of Gary Bowyer.
Although their much publicised ownership situation has still not been resolved, the Tangerines have, on the field, given themselves a good platform on which to build.
However, 12 departures and eight new arrivals have changed the make-up of the squad quite significantly, with several key players moving on. A return to the Championship might be a bridge too far for the time being, but this famous old club – in a purely footballing sense, at least – seem to be in a more promising position than they’ve found themselves for some time.
Last season: 12th in League One
In charge: Gary Bowyer
At the helm for just over two years, it’s fair to say Bowyer has enjoyed a successful tenure so far. This is his third senior managerial job, following spells in charge of Blackburn between 2013 and 2015, and non-League Carshalton Athletic around the turn of the millennium, after his playing career – which saw him turn out for Hereford and Rotherham – had been cut short by injury. He spent the intervening time in academy and reserve coaching roles with Derby and Rovers.
Star player: Curtis Tilt
Tilt took to life in the EFL like a duck to water, making 42 league appearances in his first season with Blackpool, having signed from National League Wrexham. Three player of the season awards capped an impressive campaign for the imposing centre-half, who, having seen his defensive partner Clark Robertson leave, has the opportunity to become the main man at the back for the Tangerines. That said, Bowyer expects there to be interest from Championship and Premier League clubs – although the asking price will be high.
Key ins: Blackpool have dipped into non-League for two signings, with exciting winger Harry Pritchard joining from National League Maidenhead and powerful right-back Michael Nottingham – who, handily, has got the odd goal in him as well – arriving from National League North champions Salford City. Northern Ireland midfielder Jordan Thompson and versatile forward Joe Dodoo have also joined from Rangers on permanent and season-long loan deals respectively.
Key outs: Of those 12 departures, the Chairboys’ saviour Colin Daniel, Kyle Vassell and the aforementioned Clark Robertson are the most notable. Left-back Daniel has made the switch to Peterborough, while striker Vassell – last season’s top scorer with 11 goals – and Robertson will both be playing Championship football in 2018/19 with play-off winners Rotherham.
Wycombe wins: 5
Blackpool wins: 7
26/11/1994 (League One): Blackpool 0-1 Wycombe (Wycombe scorer: Paul Kerr)
11/03/2017 (League Two): Wycombe 0-0 Blackpool
Last Wycombe win:
25/09/1999 (League One): Blackpool 1-2 Wycombe (Wycombe scorers: Sean Devine, Dave Carroll)