Blackpool get the 20/21 season underway on Saturday with a trip to Championship side Stoke City in the first round of the Carabao Cup.
Stoke, managed by former Northern Ireland manager Michael O’Neill, will be a tough test for the Seasiders who face their first competitive match for over five months coming into the tie.
However, an impressive pre-season campaign for Neil Critchley’s men will see the Club head into the match full of confidence, having picked up three wins and a draw in the five warm up matches since their return.
Stoke finished their Championship season in fine form less than six weeks ago in a 4-1 victory at Nottingham Forest. The Club were actually undefeated for their final four matches of the season, securing three wins and a draw in the process.
Since then, Michael O’Neill has made four new signings, adding a great deal of experience to his squad for the upcoming season.
Morgan Fox, James Chester and Steven Fletcher have all signed up for the season at the Bet365 Stadium, whilst former Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel signed for the Club earlier this month.
Due to the late finish to their season, Stoke have only played two pre-season matches to date. A 1-0 victory over Northern Irish side Linfield was followed up with a 1-0 home defeat to League One side Burton Albion last weekend.
Michael O’Neill was appointed manager of Stoke City in November 2019, replacing Nathan Jones.
The Potters were bottom of the Championship when he took over, but the Northern Irishman managed to turn results around and guided the Club to safety from relegation with victories over the likes of Huddersfield Town, Sheffield Wednesday and Hull City.
Before joining Stoke, O’Neill was in charge of the Northern Ireland national side for nine years following stints in charge at Brechin City and Shamrock Rovers.