IAN Holloway believes Lomana LuaLua has given his Blackpool team an extra dimension.
The 30-year-old has been a revelation since he broke into the side, rolling back the years to display the type of form he was renowned for at Portsmouth and Newcastle.
After scoring a brace on his full debut at Leeds, and helping guide the Seasiders to victory over Millwall, LuaLua is a certain starter at Middlesbrough tomorrow week.
And with the frontman getting fitter and sharper by the day, Holloway reckons the outlook is bright.
The manager said: “I hoped LuaLua would give us that extra dimension and I think he has in the last two games.
“You have to be a threat and there are all sorts of ways to be a threat. I want to pass the ball and stick it into him, and I want to get him to twist and turn because you never know what he is going to do.
“I’ve seen him do some tremendous things on my training ground in the last couple of weeks and that has got me buzzing again.
“Now he is a bit fitter, after the training programme we put him on, I think everyone can see the benefits.
“But it is still early days and the question is can we learn what his strength is? It’s not just LuaLua either. We need to learn what Kevin Phillips’ strength is, what Chris Basham’s strength is, what Barry Ferguson’s strength is, what Ludo Sylvestre’s strength is… but that will come, and all I can say is that I am delighted with the players we have actually got now.
“We have too many. I will hold my hand up for that. We will loan some out and get them out because they will get fed up with not playing.
“But I want to win and I want to keep utilising the energy of the group.”
Holloway and his players are off until Monday but it is clear the manager is in much improved spirits following a sticky spell last month.
Holloway has publicly admitted he was down about back-to-back defeats against Nottingham Forest and Burnley. And he now admits he wouldn’t have stayed at the club had he not felt able to find his motivation again.
He added: “It is really difficult when you’ve lost something that is absolutely so outstanding in your career.
“That happened to us with the Premier League. I wanted to stay in it so badly and it didn’t happen. I have got to get over that disappointment.
“I think the energy of my group has been dissipating with mine. I don’t want that to happen, because I don’t think that is fair to this football club. I don’t think that is right.
“But believe me, if I felt that was going to continue then I wouldn’t stay. That is unfair.
“If I couldn’t do what I did before then that wouldn’t be right. This club deserves a much more energised me than I have been over recent weeks.
“I was getting bored I think because we were too predictable.
“But in the last two games my lads have managed to re-energise me.
“My team have done brilliantly, that has picked me up and at the moment everyone is buzzing and enjoying what they are doing.”