Blackpool spurred on by fans - Forbes
DAVID CUFFLEY Blackpool's fans have been a tower of strength in the club's promotion push - and birthday boy Adrian Forbes is banking on them to help inspire an FA Cup victory at the expense of his old club.
Blackpool's fans have been a tower of strength in the club's promotion push - and birthday boy Adrian Forbes is banking on them to help inspire an FA Cup victory at the expense of his old club.
Simon Grayson's men were roared on by nearly 1,000 travelling supporters as they moved into sixth place in Coca-Cola League One, just five points behind the leaders, with a 1-0 win at Leyton Orient at the weekend.
The current feelgood factor surrounding the Seasiders' revival this season means Saturday's fourth round tie against Norwich City is a 9,559 capacity sell-out, with the Canaries' own army of 1,800 fans outnumbered four to one at Bloomfield Road.
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Former Carrow Road winger Forbes, who celebrates his 28th birthday today, paid tribute to the Blackpool followers' part in their success.
He said: “There were 850 fans at Leyton Orient and it's not like it's just round the corner.
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“They gave it everything, which was inspiring from the players' point of view. They didn't stop singing and come this Saturday they will be in full voice again. I know it's already a sell-out.”
Forbes said a place in the Championship was Blackpool's aim, and taking on City would give a good indication of where they stand.
He said: “Norwich are a good Championship outfit and that's where we want to be, competing with the likes of these players. It's a big test and we want to be up in the same league next season. We are going into it confident of getting a good result as long as we apply ourselves.
“It's definitely a good time to be playing them. They're mostly Premiership players in Peter Grant's squad, but they're going through a bit of a bad spell.
“It's a long journey, they won't like the surroundings with the ground half finished and we will try to use that to our advantage, try to get into the last 16 and get another game at Bloomfield Road.”
Grayson has revived a club that finished 16th and 19th in League One in the last two seasons and turned them into play-off contenders.
Said Forbes: “When I played at Blackpool for Swansea towards the end of last season, it was a must win game for them because they were in trouble.
“The boss has brought in more experienced players and put a team together capable of cementing a play-off place. This is a good squad of players with the potential to be very successful.”
While he is hoping to make his own mark against City, Forbes pointed to left-sided midfielder Wes Hoolahan, on loan from Livingston, as a potential danger man, as well as goalscoring trio Andy Morrell, Scott Vernon and Keigan Parker.
The tie has special significance for Forbes, who will face the Canaries for the first time since moving to Luton in 2001, and he has a special affection for the club and the fans.
He said: “From my point of view, the game is ideal because it's the first time I've had the chance to play in front of those fans since I left five years ago and I hope I can give them something to remember.
“Paul McVeigh, Craig Fleming and Adam Drury are about the only players left from my time at Norwich. Jason Shackell was there as a YTS player and, of course, Peter Grant was in central midfield when I was on the right wing.
“It will be good to see some of these lads again and I'm very much looking forward to it. I have the utmost respect for Peter Grant and all the little bits he taught me that have helped my game.”
t Premiership referee Chris Foy, from Merseyside, will take charge of Saturday's tie at Blackpool.
t A Blackpool victory over the Canaries would not be regarded as an FA Cup upset to judge from the bookmakers' odds, with the Seasiders fancied to book their place in round five.
William Hill make Blackpool 11-8 favourites to win on Saturday, with Norwich 13-8 and the draw 21-10. Coral have Blackpool at 13-10, with City 8-5 and the draw 9-4. Bet 365 have both sides at 6-4 to win, with the draw 9-4.
Both teams are rank outsiders to win the FA Cup outright.
Blackpool are 400-1 with William Hill, 500-1 with Ladbrokes and Bet 365 and 750-1 with Coral.
City are 125-1 with William Hill, 150-1 with Ladbrokes and 200-1 with Coral and Bet 365.