EXCLUSIVE: Holloway on influence of his skipper

Ferguson has quickly become Pool's captain.
Ferguson has quickly become Pool's captain.
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One look from Barry Ferguson and everyone jumps – that is a measure of his influence in the Seasiders dressing room.

So says Ian Holloway, who has praised his skipper for making a major difference this season.

Ferguson was Holloway’s big-money summer signing, bought in for £750,000 from Birmingham.

With Charlie Adam and David Vaughan departed, the pressure was on Ferguson to produce.

He hasn’t disappointed. The 33-year-old has become increasingly influential as the season has progressed, and the manager is delighted with the Scot’s contribution.

“I think anyone who’s been home and away this season will have seen how important Barry Ferguson is,” Holloway said. “It usually takes a while to be able to come into a dressing room and say what you think, but not Barry.

“He leads on the pitch, he talks so much and he’s a born winner. He never stops and never gives up.

“You don’t win 16 trophies like he has and walked into this club and start shouting and balling straight away.

“He’s settled in now and he doesn’t even need to talk – he just gives the lads a look and they understand what he means.

“I don’t think the bloke ever gives the ball away.”

Holloway believes Ferguson’s presence, and the way he gets the ball and gives a simple pass, has made it easier for him to re-shape the way Blackpool play. With Charlie Adam and his Hollywood passes gone, the Seasiders now play in a different manner and Ferguson is central to that.

Pool aren’t the finished article. With almost half the campaign gone, Holloway believes his players are still learning how to cope without the players they lost in the summer.

But he thinks they’re definitely making strides forward – even if they’ve got some way to go before they start playing like Barcelona, which is what Pool’s ambitious manager wants.

“We are evolving all the time, the lads are getting to grips with each other, but we are getting there,” said the boss.

“The lads who have come in have lifted everyone around the place.

“You have to evolve, you have to move forward and I want to look more and more like Barcelona if we can.

“The way they pass the ball and move looks easy, but it’s difficult. You have to be in habit of moving it.

“On Saturday, against Watford, my lads moved it well and I thought it was really exciting. Hopefully they’ll keep developing and working.

“If you look at the Southampton game, we made a mistake when Neal Eardley got the ball off Matt Gilks and we gave it away. But I don’t blame either of them. It was the rest of the team’s fault for not making an angle for a pass.

“What we’ve got to do is give Gilks more choices. Not many are doing that for their goalie, but I think it’s the future.

“We are going to keep working on it, and it’s just a pity we can’t play on a bigger pitch at Bloomfield Road.

“Our possession and passing stats away from home are better than at home as the pitches are bigger.

“Maybe we can change that at some point.”

In the meantime, Holloway, Ferguson and co will keep playing football the way it’s meant to be played - though it remains to be seen whether it will be enough to get Pool in the play-off places come May.

Pick up a copy of Friday’s Gazette for an EXCLUSIVE interview with KEVIN PHILLIPS.