Spare a thought for poor Thomas Ince. Not only is his father a former England midfield general with a distinguished career fledged in England and in Italy, but he is now also his boss. The appointment of Paul Ince to the Blackpool hot seat, replacing Michael Appleton who left in January to take over at Blackburn Rovers, must have come as a surprise to many, including his own son. In fact, Thomas, who has been the star performer for Blackpool this year, only heard about his fathers new job through a text message from his mum. It’s strange days for the young star who was the subject of much interest during the January transfer window and will likely be attracting similar interest in the summer. He knows that if he continues to perform at the level has done so far then it won’t be long before he gets a return shot at the Premiership. Ince senior will be well aware of the rumours surrounding his son’s future and was an influencing factor in his son’s decision to stay at Blackpool until July at least. Many will speculate if he knew more than he his son during those last few weeks in January.
The self-proclaimed guv’nor has a job to do first before he starts to think about where his son may end up. His first job is to steer the club away from trouble and back up the tabel with the hopes of replicating Blackpool’s 2009-2010 campaign which ended in victory at Wembley and a spot in the Premiership. At the moment that dream is a long way off as their form has been anything but inspiring, winning only five games in the league since November. The over reliance on Thomas to get the goals needed to win games has been their ultimate downfall as clubs start to get smart to their main tactic of feeding him the ball. Ince Junior has hit 17 goals this season in all competitions from 30 games but with the next top goalscorer at the club on six (fellow striker Nathan Delfouneso), Ince Senior will know what he needs to do. He will try to encourage his midfielders to support more and chip in with goals themselves to relieve some of the burden off of his 21-year-old son’s shoulders. In addition, he will look at how his team play and spread the passes around, looking for different options than just straight to Thomas’s feet.
If he can do this then Blackpool have a chance. Ince will lean on his Scottish back line of Gilks, Crainey and Feguson to lead by example and drive the team forward. All are internationals so have the experience needed to do so. He will look for more creativeness from Matt Phillips and Tiago Gomes on the flanks especially as they switch from defending to attacking. But most of all he will look towards his son to maintain his form but hopefully with more freedom than before. Ince Senior has been watching Blackpool for the better part of two years since his son transferred to the club which will give him an expert knowledge of the club that all new managers would die for. His club management career has not been filled with roses so far after less than successful stints at Blackburn and Notts County but he will be keen to show what he can do and will command the dressing room as a manager just as he did as a player. If the two Ince’s can work well together, both on and off the pitch, then Blackpool could be in for a dramatic finish to the season. Who knows, Ince Senior may be able to tempt his son to stay at Blackpool for one more year, especially if that year is back in the Premiership.