Pool rivals must not nose ahead

Ian Holloway with Cardiff manager Malky Mackay before saturday's draw.
Ian Holloway with Cardiff manager Malky Mackay before saturday's draw.
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IAN Holloway says it is “absolutely vital” for his Seasiders team to remain in or around the top six all season.

The Seasiders boss believes this season’s Championship is as strong as it has ever been and he reckons a promotion bid will become very difficult should his side become separated from the leading pack.

He is determined not to fall away from the play-off places and is happy with Pool’s current position of seventh.

Holloway said: “I think it is absolutely vital that we stay up and around the top six.

“If you get detached from the top of the league it won’t be easy at all.

“The bottom line is that we are competing in a very strong division this season and it is incredibly difficult because the teams are so equal.

“There isn’t a single club in the Championship you can label as weak because they all have some very good players. It is a marathon, not a sprint, so you want to stay in touch with the leading pack, if not be in it, all the time.

“It is about building confidence and then growing in confidence.

“So far we haven’t played a bad side. Look at Crystal Palace – they beat Wigan in the Carling Cup, yet we went there and we were very disappointed we didn’t win, so I don’t think we are in too bad a shape.

“We have two tough away matches to come (Portsmouth and Coventry), so we have to keep playing well every single game. If our standards slip we will have problems.”