Sunday, January 6, 2013
Blackpool defender Neal Eardley has joked that Fulham will be “looking forward” to an FA Cup replay at boggy Bloomfield Road - but he was more worried about ensuring he lines up on the opposite side.
Eardley was hoping to help the Seasiders complete a third round shock after they came away from Craven Cottage with a surprise 1-1 draw yesterday.
That set up a replay - which will almost certainly take place next week - against Martin Jol’s men, but this time Blackpool will enjoy home advantage.
And what an advantage it is on a pitch manager Michael Appleton described as a “cabbage patch” and “as bad a surface as I have ever seen in the league”.
Fulham came within 10 minutes of being dumped out of the cup on their own patch yesterday but Giorgos Karagounis’ sensational equaliser denied Blackpool a famous win.
Eardley said afterwards: “We’re still in the cup, we’ve got a chance to bring them back to Bloomfield.
“I’m sure they’re looking forward to playing there...”
Right-back Eardley certainly was after finding himself frozen out of the side under Appleton.
The Wales international started his new manager’s first game in charge at the start of November but was axed immediately, spending the rest of 2012 kicking his heels.
New Year’s Day’s goalless draw with Hull saw him finally earn a recall and he kept his place yesterday.
The 24-year-old said: “The other day was my first game since we played Bolton at home. So it’s going on like two months.
“It’s nice to be back in.
“I’ve just tried to get on with it, keep my head down and, hopefully now that I’m back in the team, I can maybe have a run of games.
“We’ll just have to wait and see.”
Eardley did his cause no harm yesterday by helping Blackpool weather a Fulham onslaught after Ludovic Sylvestre gave the visitors the lead.
It took a wonder-volley from veteran Greece midfielder Karagounis to breach the wall of orange.
“Unfortunately, it’s a worldy that’s done us and that’s why they’ve got the draw,” Eardley said.
“Sometimes, that just happens and you’ve just got to take it on the chin.
“It’s a corner and we’ve dealt with the first one and then it’s gone straight to him, he’s taken a touch and it’s in the back of the net from 25, 30 yards.
“So there’s not a lot you can do sometimes but I think, overall, we are pleased with how we’ve done.”