No easy ride for Riga with Blackpool

Jose Riga
Jose Riga

Belgian Jose Riga was expected to arrive at Bloomfield Road today prior to the official announcement of his appointment as Pool’s new manager.

But when he does finally settle into the hot-seat he will soon realise the magnitude of the task he is taking on with Blackpool.

On his arrival he will find that he has six current contracted players, a situation that has prompted the bookmakers to install the Seasiders as clear favourites to be relegated from the Championship.

Blackpool flirted dangerously with demotion last season and now league sponsors Sky Bet have made them 13-8 market leaders to go down in 2014-15 campaign, starting in August.

Riga has plenty to get to grips with – and a sure sign that the season is not that far away comes next week with the publication of the fixtures for the new campaign, plus the Capital One Cup draw.

With Blackpool favourites for the drop, the relegation betting has newly-promoted Rotherham United at 2-1, with Riga’s former club Charlton bracketed at 9-4 with Huddersfield and Millwall.

At the other end of the scale Derby and Norwich are 33-1 shots for relegation.

Blackpool say that player movement is expected to ‘snowball’ once Riga gets down to work.

Meanwhile, Defender Kirk Broadfoot, freed by the Seasiders, is being linked with a move to Rotherham United. The former Rangers and St Mirren defender, signed by Blackpool in September, 2012, made 65 appearances for the Bloomfield Road club.

Lewis Almond and Liam Thomsett, also freed by Blackpool at the end of the season in a mass clear-out that saw 17 leave, are attracting interest from non-league clubs.

Meantime, Chris Basham, one of the players Blackpool wanted to keep, has explained why he decided to step down a division with Sheffield United, where he has penned a three-year contract.

He said: “There was a lot of interest in me a division higher but I’m not just thinking about the 12 months coming-up.

“When you look at the facilities and the plans that he (manager Nigel Clough) has got with regards to the players he’s looking to come in, well, it speaks for itself really.

“Everyone in the game speaks so highly of him and, together with the rest of his staff, they just immediately made the place feel like home.”

Basham said he had also checked out the opinion of two former Blackpool players who have experience with the Blades, Bob Harris and Matt Hill, before making his move.