Blackpool are off the bottom of the Championship after a well deserved draw against Wolves.
It seemed improbable that Jose Riga would even be in charge of this contest after the Seasiders spoke to Burton’s Gary Rowett about his post earlier this week, while chairman Karl Oyston had also openly called his current manager’s professionalism into question.
But Riga, who has retained the backing of Blackpool supporters despite six successive losses, was in the dugout to see a spirited performance which suggests this team are not as doomed as their early-season form indicates.
Whether he is around to preside over that potential turnaround remains to be seen, though, given Oyston is seemingly intent on parting ways with a boss he hired less than 100 days ago.
Wolves could have gone top of the Sky Bet Championship with a victory and hit the woodwork through Rajiv van La Parra before half-time, while Seasiders striker Nile Ranger dinked an effort off the crossbar in the second period.
While Wolves’ run of three straight wins meant the international break probably came at an inconvenient time for them, Blackpool’s patched-together squad got some welcome time to familiarise themselves with each other.
Riga initiated double sessions this week and the Seasiders looked set to reap the benefits early on, with Andrea Orlandi’s cross being scooped over the top by Nathan Delfouneso.
The Blackpool forward almost got through again shortly afterwards only to be halted by Danny Batth’s fine sliding challenge.
Joe Lewis was the first goalkeeper called into action, though, pushing away a header from Wolves midfielder Michael Jacobs.
At the other end, neither Delfouneso nor Ranger could apply the finishing touch to Joan Oriol’s cross while Peter Clarke almost bundled a free-kick past Carl Ikeme.
However, it was Wolves who ended the half on top as right winger Van La Parra’s cross-cum-shot came back off the far post before Batth skewed a drilled effort just wide.
Riga’s men should have been ahead four minutes into the second period as Orlandi fed the overlapping Tony McMahon, yet the Tangerines skipper fired into the side netting.
The hosts would go closer still some 10 minutes later when Ranger waltzed beyond Batth and turned back on to his right foot, which he used to stab an effort against the crossbar.
Kenny Jackett had already turned to Bakary Sako and James Henry off the bench prior to that, the latter’s try being diverted over the top by Clarke’s block as the game started to open up.
The skipper was epitomising the spirit Riga had asked for as he threw himself at a well-struck shot from Sako after Delfouneso’s loose pass inside his own area.
McMahon then went close again by nodding a header towards goal from a scrappy corner but Ikeme managed to swipe at the ball and touch it over.
There was no sign of Blackpool, who have barely had a pre-season programme, fading in the latter stages as they have done so often this season, although Lewis needed to rush out to stop substitute Leon Clarke stealing in.
It ended all square and Riga stayed to clap the Blackpool fans that were chanting his name and hoping to see him again in three days time against Watford.
Pool: Lewis, McMahon, Oriol, Clarke, Daniels. Perkins, Lundstram, Orlandi, Delfouenso, Ranger, E Oriol.
Subs: Parish, Miller, Zoko, Zenjov, Rentmeister, Cywka, Dielna.