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Match preview: Blackpool v Forest

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It's not going brilliantly at Blackpool, but all-round fine egg and Tangerines blogger Chris Walker managed to climb out of his pit of despair to talk to us...

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Nick Miller: So, Blackpool then. I, erm, almost don't want to talk about this, but...well, it's not going brilliantly, is it?

Chris Walker: We've certainly had better seasons, that's for sure. 20 points from the opening 30 games is not the most inspiring position to be in and, unless you go by the name of Lee Clark, it's pretty clear that we're heading back to League One for the first time since 2006/07. It's not like we can claim this wasn't on the cards though.

NM: I don't think I've ever watched a team on the first day of the season, as I did with you, and thought 'Yeah, they're done.' It's just odd that Oyston doesn't seem to care about being associated with failure.

CW: Under the circumstances of only playing one pre-season friendly and not bothering to sign players in time for the start of the season, resulting in a matchday squad featuring 12 senior players and two youth team lads, I actually thought we did well to come out of that opening game with only a 2-0 defeat. However, it could quite easily have been more and we'd have probably deserved it given our total disregard for preparing for a season in professional sport.

Prior to this season we had already had a rough couple of years since the departure of Ian Holloway, and under the threat of severe supporter unrest, Karl Oyston said that we were "going to do things differently" or words to that effect. "Different" seems to have been code for "even worse than before".

NM: What can we expect from the pitch at Bloomfield? From what I've seen it's been...a tad uneven.

CW: The worst pitch in professional football is how one person described it ahead of our game with Middlesbrough on Tuesday, but I'm fairly sure I have seen worse down the years. That's not to defend it though, because it's clearly unacceptable in 2015 and with the money we've had come into the club following our brief Premier League sojourn.

As with most things at Blackpool these days, it's the victim of a lack of care and attention. Having only played on it mid-week it's bound to be even worse and while I'm not sure if we have trained on it this week, it is something we have done this winter which beggars belief when you see its condition. Clark seems determined to use the surface as a leveller and you have to think the state of the pitch is, if not deliberate, at least not a high priority to get rectified. Anyone who dares to step inside Bloomfield Road at the weekend will likely not recognise the sport that is trying to be played.

NM: Hang on - you train on the pitch?

CW: Not all the time but it has been witnessed on occasion in the last month or so, roughly around the same time the pitch started looking like an allotment. Pure coincidence though, I'm sure.

NM: Sweet fancy Moses. At the risk of plunging you further into the pits of despair, is there anything to be positive about? Any good kids coming through?

CW: Well, in the past few weeks we have seen three youth team kids introduced into the starting XI, which considering our awful track record for developing young players is a pleasant surprise. Mark Waddington, Henry Cameron and Dom Telford are all second year scholars who have been given their chance recently, but this isn't really the ideal scenario to be blooding youngsters. All three have obvious talent but at the same time are very raw and we can't expect them to battle their way out of a relegation dogfight.

We've also done our best to seemingly force two of them, Telford and Waddington, out of the club by offering them our standard terms for a first professional contract, which is reportedly only £200 per week. At one point, Oyston banned Clark from selecting the pair until they put pen to paper, despite still being on their YTS deals, but fortunately seems to have relented and they are now back in the squad for the time being at least. Having them sit in the stands for refusing to sign a poor contract doesn't seem to be the best way to convince them you're looking after their best interests for the future if you ask me. I suspect they'll chance their arms elsewhere come the summer.

NM: Blimey. If it makes you feel any more optimistic for the weekend, our top-scorer/only striker really capable of playing properly in the system we have dislocated his kneecap in the week and is in hospital...

CW: I wish some of our players would dislocate their kneecaps and end up in hospital! That will marginally help us that you're without Assombalonga but goals on the allotment generally come down to luck more than skill, although we've possessed neither of those factors for the bulk of the season. It almost goes without saying that it will be a turgid affair and despite coming up against our bunch of hopeless strangers, a win won't be guaranteed if the Forest players can't adapt to the pitch. We'll keep lumping it and hoping something drops or a set-piece goes in off someone's arse and at the other end we'll rely on the pitch to do our defending for us.

NM: Let's have a balls on the line prediction, then...

CW: An ugly 1-0 away win and the home supporters questioning their earthly existence seem like two fairly solid predictions to me.

Chris's excellent blog is, while you can follow him on Twitter - @OneDaveBamber. He was also the man our handsome pal Seat Pitch spoke to ahead of this one...