Blackpool boss Paul Ince has problems on and off the field ahead of trip to Reebok Stadium
It proved to be a nail in the coffin for the controversial boss, who was sacked just under a year later with his popularity at an all-time low.
Now, a similar issue is brewing down the road at Blackpool where Paul Ince decided to take the fans on for their reaction in a 1-0 defeat to Brighton.
The Tangerines boss, who was no shrinking violet as a player at Manchester United or for England, slammed a section of the Bloomfield Road support as “bang out of order” for booing their side and criticising one of his own substitutions.
It has proved a PR own goal for the Londoner, whose side are in a nightmarish run of seven games without a win, six of which have been defeats.
Despite making a bright start to the campaign things have quickly turned sour making this, on paper at least, a fairly appetising time to be facing the Seasiders. But then many would have thought that at the end of last season when Ince’s side arrived at the Reebok with nothing to play for but ended up snatching a point that cost Wanderers a place in the play-offs.
The problems are stacking up for Ince who has seen five loanees return to their parent clubs this week and six red cards issued to his players in their last six games.
But the FA Cup is a competition in which he has pedigree and for that reason, Ince is refusing to be too downbeat heading into a local derby at the Reebok.
“I have great memories (of the FA Cup), I won it a couple of times (with Manchester United). Beat Oldham in the semi-finals twice.
“This gives us a break from the Championship, it is a bonus game, a different mental encounter. “It has been a hard Christmas for us, there is no getting away from it, it has been terrible.
“It gives you a different outlook playing in the FA Cup, it is a great trophy and the history which goes with it.”
Ince owns two FA Cup winner’s medals and was also beaten in the 1995 final as a United player. His most treasured memory of the competition was the famous victory over Crystal Palace in the replayed final in 1990.
“As a kid I always wanted to play in the FA Cup final, so to play in my first one at Wembley, which was 3-3, it was unbelievable,” he said of the Palace game.
“There have been some good times and bad, losing to Everton was one.
“It is a fantastic trophy, it is a derby game, we have to go out there and try for our fans and try to be positive. “It is a break from the Championship, let’s be positive and see if we can get a result at Bolton.
“That might give us momentum for Middlesbrough in our next game.”