Holloway hails 'fantastic' Evatt

IAN Holloway has described Ian Evatt as "a wonderful lad" – though admits he made a mistake with him earlier in his management career.

In his autobiography, Ollie, Holloway described an incident at QPR when he went on holiday for a week – and returned to find the chairman had signed Evatt for 150,000.

The centre half, then at Chesterfield, had been on a list of possible targets but Holloway was angry that he had been brought in while he was away.

But although it's a story which features in his book, published in 2007, Holloway says it doesn't mean there is any bad feeling between the pair.

He says Evatt will almost certainly play a key part in his Blackpool team, though adds that the defender will of course have to earn the right to feature.

"There are no problems between me and Ian – he is a fantastic lad," said Holloway.

"He has done fantastically for Blackpool and I can't wait to work with him again. But Ian knows the way I am with players.

"What I said to Ian back in our days at QPR together was that it was a mistake for the chairman to run off and get him because he was on our list and we were going to talk about him.

"I said to the owner (Gianni Paladini) I'm going on holiday for a week, a little break. Two days later he's on the phone shouting that he's got Ian Evatt.

"I just thought 'what is going on?' We had signed him without even giving the player a medical and you can't run a football club like that.

"So I said to Ian 'hang on a minute this is what happened'.

"In hindsight, if I could go back, I wouldn't have told Ian that. He didn't need to know that.

"It was my frustration with the board and I didn't need to be that upfront with him.

"I think it affected the kid. But at the time the defence wasn't my top priority.

"I had Clarke Carlisle and Danny Shittu and what I was looking to do was buy a striker to add to the ones I already had. I think that QPR team would have done something if we had done that.

"So I wanted to get that right and unfortunately Ian was caught in that drama."

Holloway insists Evatt will be a big part of the team he intends to build at Bloomfield Road and he is even considering a style of play to suit the defender's game.

"My ideas on how to defend and where I'm going to draw my line now in the Championship are a lot different from what they were," added Holloway.

"I want us to go a few yards deeper and that suits big Ian. He can head it out and he can play there. I want to play football and he can do that.

"I think he will be excited by what I'm talking about, although he'll have to earn his right in the team like everyone else."

For more from Ian Holloway, pick up a copy of Thursday's Gazette.