Meet the opposition | Blackpool
As Swansea City get set to entertain Blackpool at the Swansea.com Stadium this weekend, we take a closer look at the Seasiders.
What's their story?
Historically one of the big names of English football, Blackpool have one top-flight league title and an FA Cup in the trophy cabinet from 1930 and 1953, the latter famously seeing Stan Mortensen and Stanley Matthews seal a 4-3 win over Bolton in one of the great Wembley occasions.
They have endured harder times in recent years, including spells in the bottom tier, before a brief Premier League stint during the 2010-11 season.
Trials and tribulations have followed on and off the field since then, but with new ownership and under the guidance of former Liverpool coach Neil Critchley they are on the up once more.
How’s their form?
Very good. Having secured promotion at Wembley in May, Blackpool have adapted well to life back in the second tier.
They have won six of their last 10 fixtures to climb into the top half of the table, and already have impressive away victories at Middlesbrough, Reading and Sheffield United under their belts.
Who’s the boss?
Neil Critchley. The 43-year-old former Crewe midfielder has done a superb job since taking the reins at Bloomfield Road in March 2020.
Having impressed with his work in the Liverpool academy – and briefly taking the first team in an EFL Cup tie against Aston Villa while Jurgen Klopp and the majority of his squad were at the Club World Cup – Critchley has wasted little time turning Blackpool into an effective unit.
Promotion was secured in his first full season as boss, and they have made a seriously eye-catching start to the new campaign under him.
Who’s the captain?
Chris Maxwell. The 30-year-old keeper is a former Wales age-grade international and started his career with Wrexham, making his debut as an 18-year-old for the Racecourse club.
Stints with Fleetwood, Cambridge United, Preston North End, Charlton and Hibernian, with the majority of those being loan spells.
He initially joined Blackpool on loan from Preston in January 2020, and was soon snapped up on a permanent deal and was included in the League One team of the year last term.
Who are the key men?
A Rotherham academy product, striker Jerry Yates has proved a superb acquisition for Blackpool since his arrival in the summer of 2020.
He scored 21 goals on the way to promotion last term, and has picked up where he left off with five goals in 12 Championship appearances.
His fellow striker Shayne Lavery has wasted no time making an impact in the Championship after arriving from Irish club Linfield in the summer, racking up seven goals in all competitions so far, including three in his last three games.
The forward is a product of the Everton academy, having joined the Toffees from Glenavon when aged just 18 in January of 2017.
And veteran defender Richard Keogh has been a regular for the Seasiders as he brings experience to a squad making the step up to second-tier level.
He is best known for a seven-year stint with Derby, where he made over 300 league appearances and helped them to two play-off final appearances as they lost to QPR in 2014 and Aston Villa in 2019.
He left the Rams later that year and briefly worked with Russell Martin at MK Dons before moving on to Huddersfield, and now Blackpool.