IAN Holloway says getting Roman Bednar to Blackpool shows far the cub has come.
The Seasiders boss reckons he would never have been able to afford someone of Bednar’s calibre in the past.
And more to the point, even if had the money, such a big-name player would not have considered Bloomfield Road as a destination.
But Pool’s season in the Premier League, and their attempts to get back there this term, enabled them to snare the sought-after striker.
Bednar has had a mixed time since arriving.
He was pivotal in his first couple of games, coming off the bench to create goals and help the Seasiders beat Coventry and Cardiff, but struggled a little on his full debut against Portsmouth last Saturday.
That is down to a shortage of fitness – the 27-year-old still lacks sharpness, having been out of favour at previous club West Brom.
Holloway believes Bednar’s fitness will quickly improve – and when it does he is expecting big things.
The Pool boss said: “I am delighted to have him because he is quality, believe me.
“We are in an age when people have a lot of choices and I am lucky that he chose us.
“That boy had all sorts of options but he wanted to come to us.”
“I wanted him last summer. He didn’t want to come then, but he is more than happy to come now and that is probably because he has seen how we have done this season.
“I consider him to be a big signing for us because we’ve probably never been in that market before.
“We’ve always taken the broken or the dusty on the shelf.
“But I am delighted we are getting to a level where we are able to attract quality people like Roman.
“It was the same with Kevin Phillips. He had loads of choices in the summer, yet he opted for us. The same goes for Barry Ferguson.
“It shows we’ve moved on as a club.
“But the downside of becoming more successful and respected is that teams now come to Bloomfield Road and put nine or ten people behind the ball.
“It makes it difficult to win football games, as we saw against Portsmouth.
“But that is one of the reasons I am so pleased to get Roman – he gives us a different option and he can help us break down teams who come here determined not to let us score.
“We will work with him, get him properly fit and get him used to our system.
“I am very excited to see what he can do for us.”
Bednar isn’t cup-tied and is poised to start at Everton, where Holloway is likely to ask him to lead the line.
His celebration if he scores should be worth watching – Bednar hasn’t hit the target for almost two years.
His last goal was in West Brom’s 2-0 win over Middlesbrough in April 2010.