Everton V Blackpool at Goodison Park : Match Preview
18 February 2012 12:09
Moyes wary of Blackpool revival
Everton boss David Moyes has been greatly impressed by Blackpool's revival since they suffered relegation from the Premier League last season and is expecting them to provide a testing assignment for his team when they visit Goodison Park in the FA Cup fifth round.
Having got the Seasiders promoted to the top-flight in 2010 only to see them relegated on the final day of the campaign a year later, manager Ian Holloway has his side very much in contention for a return to the big time this term.
The Tangerines are currently fourth in the Championship and go into Saturday's tie having lost just two of their last 20 games in all competitions, and none of their last 10.
Everton are in good form themselves and Moyes is anticipating a tough afternoon's work for the Toffees as they look to continue the run against Blackpool and Holloway, who he feels has done a "brilliant" job.
"We are on a decent run and we have to try to keep it going if we can, but it is going to be tough against Blackpool," Moyes said.
"They are a good side, doing really well in the Championship and on the verge maybe of getting back (to the Premier League) through the automatic positions or at worst, through the play-offs as they did last time.
"He (Holloway) has done a brilliant job - everybody knows that. It is never easy when you go down, and I think they were really, really unlucky to go down in the end.
"They generated a great wave of support throughout the country last year when they were in the Premier League and they just didn't quite make it.
"In the first six months (since then) they have had to make a few changes but they have quietly gone about their business and I think overall they have come back and done well."
Moyes has had enough experiences against lower-league clubs in cups before to know that they should not be taken lightly.
"I've been lucky to get to the fifth round a few times, and I've been knocked out in earlier rounds by Shrewsburys, Oldhams and Readings not to do those clubs down at all," Moyes said.
"That is there, it is fact, so we are vulnerable just like every other club when they play against any team."
Moyes will be without Steven Pienaar for the contest as the winger, on loan from Tottenham, is cup-tied.
It is the last game before another Everton loanee, Landon Donovan, returns to the Los Angeles Galaxy, but the forward might not get the chance to make a farewell appearance for the Merseysiders due to illness, while Nikica Jelavic has definitely been ruled out, with Moyes revealing that the striker has pubalgia.
Wide man Seamus Coleman could feature against the club he played for on loan in 2010 having overcome a thigh problem, but defender Shane Duffy has an ankle complaint and joins an injury list that also includes Jack Rodwell (hamstring), Leon Osman and Phil Jagielka (both knee).
Holloway believes his current Blackpool line-up would give last year's Premier League side a run for their money.
Blackpool's final-day relegation from the top flight sparked the departure of key players including Charlie Adam, DJ Campbell and David Vaughan.
However, his rebuilt and rejuvenated squad have stormed into the automatic promotion picture in recent weeks.
"It's a nice feeling at the moment," said Holloway ahead of Saturday's clash.
"We had enough bad feelings last year with how it all ended. It's nice to be feeling a bit more upbeat and positive about ourselves again.
"I honestly couldn't tell you what my best team is at the moment because everybody's playing so well.
"I did lose arguably my best team last summer, the better ones got stolen, but I had a fantastic group.
"I've added some other ones to it and I couldn't tell you if last year's team played this year's team who would win, so that's good news for us."
In attack, Holloway has amassed a plethora of impressive options.
Lomana LuaLua was rescued from the obscurity of Cypriot football to spearhead a fluid, pacy forward line featuring highly-rated winger Matt Phillips, who will hope to shake off a hamstring injury and add to 10 goals in his last 11 appearances.
Evergreen striker Kevin Phillips joined in the close season and continues to make vital contributions, while Gary Taylor-Fletcher was Blackpool's midweek hero with a brace in the 3-1 triumph at Doncaster
As such, Holloway leaves little doubt over his intended approach on Merseyside.
"We can't do anything else other than have a go," he said. "They've just beaten Chelsea at home 2-0, so we know the enormity of the task."