Season Begins In Essex
Fixture | Colchester United vs Blackpool
Date | 8 August 2015
Venue | Weston Homes Community Stadium
The Neil McDonald era officially gets underway for Blackpool at Colchester United on Saturday, as the curtain raises on nine months of League One football.
12 new faces have entered through the Bloomfield Road doors during the summer, and with McDonald guiding his side through an unbeaten pre-season, they travel to Essex in high spirits.
A host of debuts are highly anticipated for The Seasiders, none more so than Mark Cullen’s, who plundered four goals during an impressive pre-season.
With Saturday’s hosts surviving relegation on the final day of last season, Pool will be keen to get off to a winning start in their first season back in League One since 2007.
Colchester survived by the skin of their teeth in May, beating Preston North End on the final day to squeeze above the dotted line after 46 games.
Determined not to cut it so fine this season, The Us have added key experience to their young side over the close season.
George Elokobi, Joe Edwards, Matthew Briggs and Darren Ambrose have all joined the club, while Sanchez Watt, Magnus Okuonghae and Jabo Ibehre have moved the other way.
A 3-2 victory over Championship side Ipswich Town proved the highlights of the summer for Tony Humes’ side, who were beaten by Fulham a week ago.
John Herron is Blackpool’s only absentee, after the midfielder missed the final three friendlies with a knee injury. It means there could be up to 11 debutants for The Seasiders, after a busy summer behind the scenes at Bloomfield Road.
Colchester are boosted by the return to Elokobi, who has been hampered by a calf injury, while Briggs and Sam Walker have recovered from recent injuries.
Walker will battle it out with former Pool stopper Elliot Parish for the number one jersey, after the stopper was released by The Seasiders in May.
Emmerson Boyce on his availability: “The manager chooses the team and I’ve got to fight like everybody else to be part of that first starting 11. Wherever he wants to play me I’ll do my best, and hopefully I can talk to the boys and give them some advice.”
Colchester forward Gavin Massey said: “We’ve had more positive than negative results over the summer. The defeats have helped us know where we need to get better, so pre-season has gone well for the club.”
Tangerine PlayerHD will be providing full 90 minute commentary from the match, while the Blackpool FC Twitter feed will be providing live updates for the entirety.
Reaction will be available on the official website post-match, as well as on YouTube, PlayerHD and social media.