Reds midfielder Jim O’Brien has admitted Tom Ince’s absence from this afternoon’s Championship tussle at Bloomfield Road is good news.
England Under-21 international Ince, the son of Tangerines manager Paul, is serving the first of a two-match suspension after accepting a Football Association misconduct charge.
The charge, relating to a gesture towards a match official in Monday’s Capital One Cup game defeat at local rivals Preston North End, was not seen by the officials but was subsequently caught on video tape. Ince, who plundered 18 goals last season, will now miss their clashes with Barnsley and Middlesbrough next week.
The talented forward, who is currently carrying a minor groin injury, scored in both meetings with the Reds last season and O’Brien is relieved Ince junior is not available for selection this weekend.
“He is obviously a quality player and someone who can cause you problems,” O’Brien told The Star. “From our point of view, it is a positive he’s not playing. On his day, I think he is one of the best players in the division. He is a big goal threat. He is very talented or he wouldn’t be getting touted with the all clubs that he is doing.”
“Even if he was playing, we still believe we could go and win,” he added.
Reds boss David Flitcroft handed O’Brien his first start of the season in their midweek encounter with Scunthorpe United. O’Brien, deployed in a right wing-back role, has warned his teammates to be on their guard al following the Tangerines shock cup exit.
“That will have hit them quite hard losing to their local rivals,” he said. “There are no easy games in the Championship and we expect a tough game at Blackpool.”