The Season Opener
Saturday 9 August 2014
Nottingham Forest v Blackpool
Strap in your seatbelts, here comes a fresh Championship rollercoaster to keep Blackpool FC busy for the next nine months. The José Riga era kick-offs at Nottingham Forest on Saturday, with a host of fresh faces set to pull on the tangerine jersey for the first time.
The Seasiders have significantly strengthened their squad in recent weeks, and Riga will go head-to-head with Stuart Pearce on a ground where Pool have tasted plenty of success in the past.
Pool go into the game on the back of a narrow defeat to Burnley last time out, but have brought in five new players since then. Meanwhile Forest endured a mixed pre-season, but rounded off with a win over West Brom last weekend.
A near sell-out crowd is expected at The City Ground, as the two sides prepare to set the foundations for what they hope will be a positive campaign all-round.
Bobby Grant and Tom Barkhuizen are all expected to miss out through injury for the visitors.
Meanwhile a host of new faces are set for their competitive Blackpool debuts including Joe Lewis, Jacob Mellis, Tomasz Cywka and Ishmael Miller.
As for Forest, Eric Lichaj, Henri Lansbury, David Vaughan and Dexter Blackstock will all miss out with injuries.
Jack Hobbs and Chris Cohen are in contention to play after shaking off knocks, while Britt Assombalonga and Michail Antonio may make debuts.
In The Build-Up
Blackpool beat Penrith 4-0 earlier in pre-season, but were beaten 1-0 by Premier League-bound Burnley at Bloomfield Road.
Forest beat West Brom 1-0 last weekend and saw off the likes of Ilkeston, Porto B and York over the summer.
In The Championship
The new campaign kicks off on Friday evening when Blackburn face Cardiff at Ewood Park.
While on Saturday Brentford are welcomed into The Championship with a London derby with Charlton, and Rotherham travel to Derby.
Recently relegated Fulham travel to Ipswich at Saturday tea time, while Norwich face Wolves on Sunday.
Blackburn v Cardiff (Friday 19:45)
Brentford v Charlton
Brighton v Sheff Wed
Derby v Rotherham
Huddersfield v Bournemouth
Middlesbrough v Birmingham
Millwall v Leeds
Watford v Bolton
Wigan v Reading
Ipswich v Fulham (17:15)
Wolves v Norwich (Sunday 16:00)
Blackpool took four points from Forest last season, including a dramatic victory at The City Ground in November.
Stephen Dobbie scored at the death on that occasion to earn a 1-0 win, despite Tom Ince missing from the spot.
At Bloomfield Road Andy Keogh’s late header earned The Seasiders a point the last time the two sides met in February.