Ollie’s hope for exciting finish

Ian Holloway
Ian Holloway
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GET ready for a frenetic, nail-biting and bizarre final day of Premier League action on Sunday, when Pool could win at Manchester United and go down ... or lose and stay up.

It would take all day to sum up the different permutations, but suffice to say it is the tightest battle to stay in the top flight for years.

One point separates five teams battling to avoid the remaining two relegation spots – West Ham are definitely down – and although the Seasiders are still in the drop zone, they couldn’t be closer to getting out as Birmingham are above them only because their goal difference is better by one.

If Birmingham lose heavily at Tottenham (and Spurs need a win to ensure Europa League football) and second-bottom Wigan are defeated at Stoke, then Pool could stay up even if they are beaten by the newly-crowned champions.

Then again, they could win at Old Trafford yet still find themselves relegated if Wigan win by two goals more than Pool and Birmingham take three points.

Ian Holloway says he isn’t going to lose any sleep about what could happen – he just wants his players to give themselves the best possible chance by beating United.

The Seasiders boss is bursting with pride that his team have taken their fight for survival to the last game thanks to Saturday’s 4-3 win over Bolton.

They showed guts and character in abundance, not to mention bags of skill, to sign off for the season at Bloomfield Road with a thrilling win.

And now the boss wants to do what no other side has done all season and see off Sir Alex Ferguson’s side on their own patch.

United have won 17 of their 18 home Premier League games this season, drawing the other, but if Holloway is apprehensive he isn’t showing it.

“People will laugh and say we’ve no chance of getting a result at United. Well, laugh if you like but I’m telling you that’s dangerous because you should never write us off - we are pretty good at doing the unexpected and shocking people,” he said.

The Pool boss said: “We’ve achieved the so-called impossible for the last two seasons. Never mind the 10 points some thought we’d get this season – we’ve got 10 wins.

“What an opportunity now to go to the crowned champions and have a giant party of our own.

“Whatever team they put out it is going to be heck of a challenge, even if Sir Alex (Ferguson) puts himself up front, like he told me the other day he might. Mind you, they’re so good that even then they might beat us!

“It is tough just going to Old Trafford. I went there as a player with QPR and I couldn’t get off the toilet for nerves the whole time I was meant to be putting my kit on.

“Gerry Francis was doing the team talk and I was still in the toilet.

“We won 4-1 and were 2-0 up before I touched the ball. I told the lads to keep it away from me we’ll do all right.

“It is the Theatre of Dreams, yet we are still dreaming.

“We’ve taken it to the last day. We’ve got to get something at the champions’ ground. We will give it as good a shot as we can.”

Holloway couldn’t have been more proud of his side’s performance against Bolton.

Despite the immense pressure of knowing that only a win would do, they delivered.

A DJ Campbell brace and further goals from Jason Puncheon and skipper Charlie Adam secured a victory and lifted Pool to the 39-point mark.

That would have been enough to guarantee survival in most Premier League seasons – not since 2003 has a team with so many points been relegated from the top flight.

Holloway added: “Under that pressure, what a performance. I told them we needed to win and they responded. That was as good a game as I’ve seen all season.

“That’s why I’m confident about United, because if we play like we have in the last four games we’ll have a great chance.

“In the dressing room after the game, I asked my lads where they were a couple of months ago!

“I think we are over that bad spell and I am just very proud of them.

“We looked just like we did last year. We looked like nothing was going to faze us and we managed to keep going. Some of our football going forward was absolutely fantastic.

“We have a tendency to let a soft goal in but in general I thought we were magnificent.

“The fans were great, the team was brilliant ... what a wonderful day. Now we have to come good one more time.

“Are we good enough? Who knows, but if go down it won’t be for a lack of trying.

“We couldn’t have done much more.”