IAN Evatt hopes Blackpool’s new training regime can see them climb back up the Championship table.
The defender, who celebrated his 31st birthday yesterday, claims the club had become stale under Ian Holloway and the change of manager has done everyone good.
Evatt also said Pool’s solid defensive performance at Bristol City on Saturday was the result of actually working on defence in training.
The centre-half said: “We are doing things we’ve not done in a long time, especially working on defence.
“For whatever reason, the old gaffer didn’t really work on defending – it was all attacking.
“The lads are getting fitter and stronger now, and we showed that in how we kept going on Saturday. We are only going to get better and better.”
And Evatt feels too many days off in the final weeks of Holloway’s stewardship contributed to the team’s disappointing run of results.
He added: “We hadn’t really done much training in the last couple of months. We had numerous days off, anything from two to five or six at a time. It was as surprising to the lads as anyone else.
“We are an honest bunch of players who want to work hard and want to train hard.
“At times we weren’t doing that. That’s probably why we had the bad spell we had. We’ve knuckled down now and training has been fantastic over the last 10 days or so.”
Pool lost 4-1 at Derby on the day of Holloway’s departure for Crystal Palace, having been given the previous week off, but are unbeaten in three games since.
And although they are yet to win under Michael Appleton, Evatt is excited about the future.
He added: “Hopefully we’ll start getting the results now and moving up the league. That’s where we deserve to be.
“We needed a bit of discipline and a new direction. We’ve got that now, and the lads are really enjoying it and responding well.
“We are getting fitter and stronger, working on defending and defending set-pieces, and that can only help us.”
Af for Holloway, Evatt added: “I think we both needed a chance. The gaffer felt he needed a change – that’s why he left – and I think we did too.
“We weren’t doing the things in training we used to. We got sloppy and the discipline went a little bit.
“It needed to improve and the new gaffer has brought that in. The lads are responding and really enjoying it.”
One of the biggest issues Appleton has highlighted is the fitness of his squad.
The manager was stunned at how unfit he thought his players were following the draw with Bolton in his first match in charge.
He has introduced a high-intensity fitness plan for the squad, something Evatt is loving.
“It’s been incredibly difficult. The training has been hard work,” he admitted. “But it’s exactly what we’ve needed.
“The training has been really enjoyable. We are still learning.”