IAN Holloway has called on his players to give every last ounce of effort to keep Blackpool in the Premier League.
The Seasiders have 10 games to book another season in the top flight, starting with tonight’s televised clash with champions Chelsea.
And with Holloway’s men finding wins hard to come by since the turn of the year – just two out of 11 – their fate is set to go to the wire.
They remain in 15th place but weekend wins for West Brom and West Ham have left the Seasiders just two points above the drop zone.
But Holloway says anyone feeling down about that needs their head testing.
The manager said: “We’ve got 10 more opportunities to stay in this division, which is brilliant.”
“If you had put us two points off the bottom three with 10 games to go, I think every one of us at Blackpool would have ripped your arm off as well as your leg.
“It’s irrelevant that we were better placed a few weeks ago. We still feel absolutely buoyant and we want to keep going.
“This is why I don’t like playing on Monday nights – everyone else has played, you are a bit nearer the bottom three and everyone is pulling their face and getting worried.
“But the truth – and I hope our fans don’t forget this – is that we are nowhere near as low as we should be. We should be off the chart. We should be halfway in the Championship, that’s the truth.
“So we are riding this bubble of enthusiasm. We have one of the best teams in the world coming here tonight and I for one can’t wait. No-one outside this club expects us to get a result, so let’s see what we can do.”
With Charlie Adam and DJ Campbell suspended, Elliot Grandin could return after a hamstring problem, while there is talk of Matt Phillips starting up front.
Luke Varney is also hoping for a return to the starting 11, while Stephen Crainey has declared himself fit after six weeks out with an ankle injury.
Holloway added: “Obviously we are not the same without Charlie and DJ. Hopefully we can be different but just as effective.
“We’ve got good options – Andy Reid’s passing, Jason Puncheon, David Carney, who can play in a forward role, Brett Ormerod, who is buzzing for a chance, Sergei Kornilenko, who I love, Matty Phillips, who will be a world-beater one day, James Beattie, who hasn’t had that many opportunities ... it’s not as if there is no-one to choose from.”
Pool have trained hard over the weekend and despite the size of the task – Chelsea are 1/3 to win – Holloway says his team will have only one thing in mind.
“I will never be the type of manager to aim for a 0-0. We want to win this match and every match, no matter who the opposition is,” he said. “We have to try to attack and hurt them.
“I’d take a draw now, to be honest, but we won’t be playing for one because we need three points if we can get them.
“We probably need at least two more wins and two draws and we’ve got 10 games to do that.
“But let’s have a go and see if we can do better against them than we did earlier in the season (Pool lost 4-0 at Stamford Bridge in September).
“We faced them at the wrong time, when they were on fire. Other people played them at a better time, when they were in their bad moment.
“Now we are in our bad moment and we have to try to get out of it.
“Before the last game (which Pool lost 4-0 at Wolves), I felt on top of the world because we had beaten a team (Tottenham) that had beaten AC Milan. Can we do it again without two of our best players? I believe we can.
“I have spent the weekend talking to my lads about the opposition, about how to get the ball back and how to try to hurt Chelsea. We want to cause yet another massive, huge, gigantic upset.”