IAN Holloway has told anyone dreaming of promotion to calm down and get a grip.
The Seasiders boss was visibly delighted after his team made it seven wins and three draws from their last ten games with a 3-1 victory at rock-bottom Doncaster last night.
With top two West Ham and Southampton drawing last night, fourth-placed Pool are now only four points behind the Saints and five behind Championship leaders West Ham, who are due at Bloomfield Road next Tuesday.
With 15 games remaining, it has led to talk of automatic promotion, never mind a play-off finish.
But Holloway is loathe to discuss such a possibility – he reckons Pool will slip up and fade away if they don’t keep their feet on the ground and focus on one game at a time.
The manager said: “The gap between us and the top two was down to four points this time last week – but then we slipped up against Portsmouth, which shows you can’t take anything for granted.
“It is going to be tight all the way to the end, but hopefully we will be in that shake-up.
“But we are nowhere near it yet, so let’s get on with it.
“I am trying to keep my feet on the ground. I am enjoying the way the lads are working.
But in this league the other teams are so good, so if you don’t get everything right – like closing down opponents when you haven’t got the ball – then you are not going to get results and be in with a chance.
“My lads have to understand that. They have had some scares lately but we’ve managed to be good enough to dig ourselves out of a hole or two.”
“We were 1-0 down to Coventry and to Doncaster at home. We had a shaky patch at 2-1 up at Doncaster and Matt Gilks had to make a save as good as the one Gordon Banks made 40 years ago. I’m not kidding you – it was sensational.
“So we had that scare but we have a very strong bench, so we’ve been able to make changes that have enabled us to bounce back in games and that bodes well.
“It is great to hear people saying the tactics are good, but to have players on the bench of the quality we have helps massively.”
Gary Taylor-Fletcher scored a terrific brace before Pool were pegged back by El Hadji Diouf’s penalty. But a second-half strike from Wigan loanee Nouha Dicko wrapped up the points.
And what pleased Holloway most was that a first ever Pool win at the Keepmoat Stadium was achieved without four key players. The boss added: “I left out Chris Basham, Craig Cathcart and Danny Wilson. I didn’t even bring them.
“They will be rested for the weekend, and believe it or not we didn’t have Matt Phillips, who has been probably our best player for a few weeks, maybe for a month or two.
“We couldn’t risk him because he has a slight niggle in his hamstring. So wow, it is exciting, isn’t it? The quality in our squad is very pleasing, I have to say.
“But we must keep working hard. For a large period at Doncaster we were excellent – I just didn’t like the blip which could have cost us. You have to give Donny credit. They never gave up and kept trying to play football. But luckily for us, we managed to keep going and get a third goal, and now let’s get on with the FA Cup game on Saturday.
“Will Everton be worried? Well, they’ve beaten Manchester City and Chelsea in their last two home games, so I’d suggest probably not! But we’ll give it our best shot and it’s a game we’re looking forward to immensely.”