If results had gone more or less as predicted, ‘Pool would have likely drawn three and won one, taking six points from September. As it happened, the Seasiders won only five points that month, but not necessarily in the predicted games. A win against Ipswich began the month well, but defeat away to Portsmouth, followed up by a disappointing draw at Coventry rounded off a slightly below par performance.
The results in October went much more as anticipated by the visualiser. Victories over Bristol City and Doncaster straddled the somewhat humbling defeat at the Boleyn Ground – anybody using this visualiser as a betting aid would have done fairly well on the back of the first three games of October. A home loss against Nottingham Forest was a little unexpected, but the 3-1 defeat at Burnley could be more easily understood, however poor the performance was on the day.
Analysing how the Seasiders are getting on in terms of their end of season goals – a play-off place is the realistic target – we can return to the end of month points tally chart. The targets are based on generally accepted averages for various end of season outcomes, but weighted for each month depending on the relative difficulty of the fixtures.
So far, Blackpool have ended each month somewhere between the survival and play-off targets, which up until the end of October was probably a fair assessment of how the season looked like progressing. Ending October four points off the play-off average, over-performing in November was a must in order to avoid falling away prematurely. It is vital that any club hoping to make the play-offs is still within touching distance around the time of the January transfer window, just as Blackpool were two seasons ago.
Two-fifths of the way through November, ‘Pool find themselves on 25 points, five shy of the play-off target. If Ian Holloway’s team can get anywhere near the 30 point mark by the end of November, it will have been a fantastic month for the Seasiders, and with kinder fixtures to follow in December and January especially, promotion aspirations may start to look more likely. I’ll revisit the visualiser again early in the New Year, by which time the season should be more clearly defined.