Given his history, O'Brien was always going to pick up injuries but he has chosen a bad time to do it, with three tough fixtures in a week - Blackpool, Southampton and Brighton. A par return based on our performances so far this season would give us just 2 points from those matches, so we don't only have to maintain form, we need to step up our game. Losing O'Brien means we are exposed down our right flank - a position that has cost us time and time again since Lucash Neil went over the top and struggled to keep pace with his pet tortoise.
So who plays right back? There appears to be four options. Reid was tried there in the Prem against Villa and was ripped apart. Tomkins was tried against Stoke and Etherington gave him a torrid time. Faubert was found wanting in the position time and time again. So we have to hope that the unused Demel is fit and ready to play but I haven't heard Doctor Evil trumpeting the 6' 2" beast as an option.
What team will Allardyce go with today? Carew scored at Palace and for Norway, so he must be in with a shout but Doctor Evil has been promoting Cole's England claims this week, suggesting Carlton is in line to start. So will we go with two lumps up front? Cole, Carew, Demel, Faye, Tomkins - win corners and charge! It's a tactic that Allardyce is comfortable with!
Normally I would be trying to second guess the team but I can honestly say that I have no idea what eleven players will take the field - and that is very worrying ten games into the season. Allardyce is an experienced manager but like Zola and Grant before him, he is scratching his head, trying to put together a jigsaw with pieces that don't quite fit. Will it be 4-5-1 or 4-4-2? Will Collison start? Who plays right back? Will Baldock be dumped? What about Faubert?
The Kings Arms Blackpool rock up today, urged on by Wurzel Gummage. Anything less than three points would be disastrous but I wouldn't feel confident about us beating any Sunday League pub side at Upton Park at the moment. Blackpool will look to turn the crowd against us - and if that happens, our gutless bunch will freeze again. The excuses have to stop now. The next week will decide our season.