Blackpool rock, even after Gorkss
PUBLISHED: 11:25 26 September 2008 | UPDATED: 13:21 24 August 2010
GERARD FARRELL / DZ PICS
By Ben Kosky QPR defender Kaspars Gorkss is tipping Blackpool to defy the critics again this season ahead of next week s reunion with his former club. Gorkss helped the Seasiders to gain promotion via the play-offs in 2007 and then survive in the Champion
By Ben Kosky
QPR defender Kaspars Gorkss is tipping Blackpool to defy the critics again this season ahead of next week's reunion with his former club.
Gorkss helped the Seasiders to gain promotion via the play-offs in 2007 and then survive in the Championship against expectations last season before his drawn-out summer transfer to Loftus Road.
Despite the loss of their Latvian lynchpin, Simon Grayson's side - who travel to Rangers on Tuesday - have begun the campaign strongly and lie 10th in the Championship after a shock 1-0 victory at Birmingham.
"I can't say that I'm surprised with the way they've started," Gorkss told the Times. "Obviously some people were talking about Blackpool as a team that's going to go down this year.
"But they've got 13 new players, I think, and it helps Blackpool that everyone was talking about them like that. It's less pressure on them, that makes it easier to play, and I think they will stay up again.
"I remember last season we played much better away to strong teams than we did at home to weaker sides. Of course when Blackpool play us I'm not on their side, but I wish them well after that and hope to see them get more wins.
"I have good memories of the club, they're a great bunch of lads and I keep in touch with a lot of them. I think it's going to be a friendly atmosphere as far as my old team-mates are concerned, that's for sure.
"The Blackpool fans I'm not too sure about, but I hope they'll still be good to me. These two home games are massively important for us and they are both winnable."
Gorkss' uncertainty about the reaction of the travelling Blackpool fans on Tuesday is understandable after a lengthy saga in which he made clear his desire to end his 18-month spell at Bloomfield Road and move to west London.
Blackpool reported Rangers to the Football League, claiming an illegal approach to Gorkss, leaving the 26-year-old centre-back in limbo for much of the summer and his fitness suffered as a result.
Essentially, it wasn't until Gorkss played two World Cup qualifying games for his country, against Moldova and Greece earlier this month, that he began to noticeably regain match sharpness.
And Rangers have started to benefit from that, with Gorkss and Damion Stewart forming a solid partnership to keep a clean sheet at Norwich last week and performing well again at the Ricoh Arena on Saturday, despite a 1-0 defeat.
"We started slow and a bit too careful and I don't know why that was, but I think the whole team stepped up a gear in the second half and we definitely should have got something from the way we played," Gorkss reflected.
"It didn't help that I missed most of the pre-season games, so I guess my pre-season began with the start of the league season.
"But I feel much better now fitness-wise, hopefully I can keep going up the hill and stay in the team."
On-loan defender Zesh Rehman will not be eligible for Blackpool on the night under the terms of his loan agreement from QPR.
But former Rs Ian Evatt and Daniel Nardiello - who has yet to start a game for his new club since leaving Loftus Road in the summer - are both likely to be in the squad.