It had two Inces, a Schmeichel and a Keane but reminiscent of Manchester United it wasn't. A tedious, error-strewn Championship stalemate played out on the freezing seaside tundra was not so much the Theatre of Dreams as the paying punters' worst nightmare.

Paul Ince styled himself "the Guv'nor" in his playing days, and had the ability to back it up. The jury is still out on Ince as "the Gaffer", after managerial stints at Macclesfield, Notts County, MK Dons and Blackburn, and the old midfield scrapper faces an uphill task in relaunching that career at Blackpool, where so much has changed since the halcyon days of Ian Holloway. The days when Holloway's Premier League buccaneers would go 3-0 down and win 4-3 are long gone.

Conventional wisdom has it that new managers must build from the back, and Ince has made the defence a priority. He said: "The lads previously had an 'if they score one we'll score two' mindset, and that's something we need to change."

For Leicester, whose target is promotion, it was another disappointing result. They had only themselves to blame, the hitherto prolific Chris Wood blasting a penalty against the crossbar three minutes into the second half. A disappointing ninth last season, Nigel Pearson's charges have been up and down like a fiddler's arm. They won six games out of seven in the autumn, one in six up to Boxing Day, then won six of seven again. Now it is three defeats and a draw from their past four. Pearson said: "We need to get back to winning ways, and at the moment we're not scoring the goals to put games away, but as long as we apply ourselves in the right way we'll come through in the end."

For those of us of a certain age, the pitch was reminiscent of Derby's Baseball Ground in Cloughie's day. It was difficult to distinguish it from the distant North Beach, and the dreadfully uneven surface did nothing for either side's attempts to play constructive football. Consequently, for the most part the match was desperately poor.

For Thomas Ince and Matthew Phillips, two much-coveted ball players, going to work on this corrugated stage every other week must be a demoralising experience.

Pearson said: "It's not easy to play on that and I don't think it's good enough." Ince the managerial pragmatist agreed, saying: "You can't play football on it, but it is what it is. The game isn't all about pretty football."

Blackpool led the Championship after the first four games, at which stage Leicester were 10th and Cardiff, the current leaders, eighth but then Holloway left at the start of November and they came down as the illuminations went up. Michael Appleton was in charge for barely five weeks before decamping to Blackburn, leaving it to Ince to pick up the pieces of a broken promotion dream. Holloway said at the time that he feared his team's relegation from the Premier League two seasons ago might have put them on a slippery slope and so it has proved. Fifth last season, when they lost the play-off final to West Ham, this time they have fallen away alarmingly, winning two of their past 14 games.

Kevin Phillips, leading scorer last time, is now at Crystal Palace, and with Nathan Delfouneso flattering to deceive, only the 17 goals provided by the manager's son stands between a mundane team and a relegation battle. Young Thomas might have had a couple more. Early in the second half he accelerated across the dunes before letting fly from 20 yards, only to be thwarted by Schmeichel, hurtling to his left. Ince soon took on Schmeichel again from 20 yards, which sounds like a case of Nineties déjà vu. As used to be the way between Paul and Peter, the goalkeeper prevailed.

Pearson gave a debut to Harry Kane, a 19-year-old striker borrowed from Spurs in midweek, and was "very pleased" with his performance. Kane won the penalty, when he fell under challenge from Neal Eardley, and his shot produced a smart save from Matthew Gilks in the first half. In the second Leicester turned the screw but two horrible misses prevented them from scoring. First Michael Keane headed wide at the far post, then Kane miscued badly from six yards.

Reprieved, Blackpool were close to winning it with a Stephen Crainey free-kick and a strike from Ince Jr.