IAN Holloway has told his squad he will have no hesitation in axing any players who aren’t pulling their weight, no matter what they have done in the past.
Holloway believes tonight’s mouth-watering trip to Leeds United’s Elland Road – a venue where Pool have only won twice since their first visit in 1920 – is the perfect opportunity to get the Seasiders’ Championship campaign up and running again.
The manager insists there is nothing wrong that a win or two won’t put right. But he does have this warning for his established players.
Holloway said: “I think what I’ve got to do is look at everybody with a clean slate. I can’t just have people who have played well for me for the last two years – it is what we do now that matters.
“I have to get that straight in my head. What they’ve done for me and this club before is totally irrelevant. What are they doing right now? That is how they should be judged.
“That’s what I’m being judged on and that is what they should be judged on too. If they’re not playing very well right now, I should leave them out and get some fresh impetus and fresh energy. But I have to get the timing of that right. If I do it right now, it might be a panic and kneejerk thing.”
Pool are hunting for their first three-point haul on the road since the opening-night win at Hull.
Defending set-pieces has been their Achilles heel in recent games and Holloway admitted he has been working hard to improve things.
“I hit so many balls into the penalty area in training yesterday and put so many bodies in against my back four,” explained the boss. “I was laughing by the end because they didn’t let a single goal in, so I said, ‘What are we so worried about?’
“There are one or two other things we did, which I want to keep private, that maybe I haven’t done with this group before.
“We’ve got to make sure we do things simply, efficiently and properly – and if we do, we’re not that far off having a decent team again.
“We’re going to have to go to Leeds and be very solid, and give ourselves a chance of nicking one and scoring maybe a second, like we did at Newcastle last year. But you’ve got to be in the game to start with, and at the moment we seem to be letting goals in and getting nervous, which is very unlike any team I’ve ever had.”
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