Sergei still has an important part to play

Premier League action from Blackpool v Stoke at Bloomfield Road. Sergei Kornilenko controls a high ball. PIC BY ROB LOCK 30-4-2011
Premier League action from Blackpool v Stoke at Bloomfield Road. Sergei Kornilenko controls a high ball. PIC BY ROB LOCK 30-4-2011
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SERGEI Kornilenko played against Barcelona earlier in the season, and did something most folk don’t – he wasn’t on the end of a hiding.

He started for Russian Premier League outfit FC Rubin against Pep Guardiola’s team in the Champions League in September.

It finished 1-1, David Villa was on target for Barca, and a chap called Christian Noboa scoring from the penalty spot for Rubin.

Kornilenko probably hoped it would be the start of a season to remember for him ... though it hasn’t quite panned out like that.

The 27-year-old joined Rubin on loan from Zenit St Petersburg at the start of the campaign.

He didn’t score in five appearances. Then he came to Blackpool for the second half of this season.

He’s made only three starts but one of those came against Tottenham last weekend, when he was thrown in a little unexpectedly, replacing Matt Phillips in the starting line up.

Kornilenko responded with a decent performance.

It was clear he is lacking sharpness – understandable given how little football he has played over the last few months – and he was taken off at half-time.

But Holloway was happy with how the striker performed.

Now Kornilenko is facing an anxious wait to see if he will be involved tomorrow, in the biggest game of the Seasiders’ season.

Phillips, the unlucky man at Spurs, will be hoping for a recall against Bolton.

But Jason Puncheon, who impressed at White Hart Lane after replacing Kornilenko at the interval, will also fancy his chances of getting the nod.

With boss Ian Holloway almost certain to keep the same 10 players which have served him so well in the last three games, it means Kornilenko, Phillips and Puncheon will slug it out for the remaining place.

Holloway said: “I thought Sergei did a brilliant job at Spurs. It is difficult because he isn’t quite in the condition he needs to be for this level. He tried as hard as he could, though he’s not quite fit. But I felt we needed him.

“I’ve been seeing him in training and I thought Matty Phillips needed a little break. I need to utilise my group.

“Look at the way Manchester United utilise their squad of players. It is quite remarkable.

“We’re still trying to develop and evolve into a club that is big enough and good enough to actually stage these types of games every week.

“We had no undersoil heating, no sprinkler system, we had no stand – and look how far we’ve come.

“I don’t want anyone knocking my boys.

“I think they’ve been absolutely magnificent and if the club isn’t quite ready, it won’t be their fault.

“We are building all the time, and the Tottenham result has given them an amazing shot in the arm.

“The last three games have been terrific.”