Ollie: Bring on the big guns

Blackpool's Ludovic Sylvestre

Blackpool's Ludovic Sylvestre

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IAN Holloway insists he has no fears about taking on the Championship’s big-boys over the coming weeks.

Bring on Middlesbrough, Birmingham, Leicester and Southampton is the rallying cry from the Seasiders boss, who claims his team’s demanding run of fixtures is nothing compared to what the club faced last season.

Holloway’s players train tomorrow but will then have three days off to recharge the batteries ahead of what appears a tough sequence of games.

After the trip to third-placed Middlesbrough on Saturday week, Pool will then host Birmingham and Reading and travel to Leicester and runaway leaders Southampton in the space of a fortnight.

Asked if he was worried, the boss replied: “Well, they aren’t quite as hard as Manchester United, Manchester City, Arsenal and Tottenham, are they?

“This job is a fantastic challenge after the disappointment of last season. If people look at the games to come and think, ‘Aren’t they frightening?’ well, that is what I am in the job for – I have to try to get another team out of this division.

“We hadn’t done it for 40-odd years and we might not do it for another 40, but if we hadn’t already done it would people be thinking this way?

“We just have to learn to deal with it, and people can be worried if they want but I don’t understand why.

“The important thing for me is to just keep building from one game to the next and try to get a run going again. That is all we need to do.

“It hasn’t been easy this season. The last two games have been great for everybody but there have been things in some games I haven’t liked.

“But that was always going to be the case. It was always going to be difficult for us after we went down.”

Holloway admits it has taken him and his squad a long time to get over the disappointment of relegation, but he thinks they have finally shaken off their Premier League blues.

“When you lose what we had, it can kill you,” he said.

“Some of the things I saw on the training ground last season ... some of the things Charlie Adam and David Vaughan did ... it was brilliant, and when it’s gone you think, ‘How do we get over that?’ We had a group that was growing. The energy of that group was really positive and then it got split up.

“It came back when Kevin Phillips and Barry Ferguson signed but then we had a bit of a lull, mainly because there was some criticism.