Sean Dyche admits he is surprised to see Blackpool struggling at the wrong end of the Championship table - but admits it just goes to underline what a crazy season it has been.
This time last season, the Seasiders were on course for the play-offs - beating Burnley 4-0 in their penultimate game at Bloomfield Road to seal a top-six berth.
Having seen off Birmingham City 3-2 on aggregate in the semi-final, Ian Holloway’s side lost out 2-1 at Wembley in the final to West Ham, their dreams of an instant return to the Premier League dashed by a late strike from Ricardo Vaz Te.
Pool set their sights on automatic promotion this term, but, having lost manager Holloway to Crystal Palace, then replacement Michael Appleton to Blackburn Rovers, it has been a turbulent season on the coast.
Blackpool have lost only one of their last eight games - at home to Peterborough - but new boss Paul Ince’s side are still 18th in the table - four points above the drop zone, but only three points behind the Clarets in 11th.
The Clarets go in search of a double over their old rivals, after Charlie Austin’s goal earned a 1-0 win over the Seasiders at Turf Moor in October under caretaker boss Terry Pashley, and Dyche looked ahead to the game: “Blackpool have some good, experienced campaigners to call upon, but it just shows how tough the Championship has been this season that they are where they are in the table.
“It’s been a topsy-turvy season, and some of the fancied clubs, including some of the financially-powerful clubs in the division, have struggled.
“It’s been a crazy season in the Championship - the toughest certainly I can remember.”
Having only lost once in five local derbies this season against Pool, Blackburn and Bolton, Dyche is eager to extend that record, although he is aware that tomorrow’s game doesn’t carry the same depth of rivalty as the outings against Rovers: “The fans tell me that Blackburn is THE one, but Blackpool remains a big Lancashire derby, and that plays a part.
“But from our point of view, we just want to keep performance levels high and try and win more games.
“We’ve only lost one in seven, and there could have been more wins but for some decisions that went against us.”