IAN Holloway admitted that his unexpected team selection even left the kitman bamboozled.
The Seasiders boss threw Southampton – and everyone else – a real curve-ball by resting influential duo Barry Ferguson and Stephen Crainey.
And with Kevin Phillips ruled out with a last-minute injury, Pool’s starting 11 had a very different look to the side which lost at Reading seven days earlier.
In came Bob Harris for his first league start, while Angel Martinez starred in midfield and John Fleck was on the bench.
Holloway joked: “People might have raised their eyebrows – even my kitman was totally perplexed. He didn’t know which shirts to put out. Maybe it was a gamble selecting the team I did. You are damned if you do and damned if you don’t.
“But I did it was because we had a behind-closed-doors game against Leeds in the week and we played brilliantly.
“I was delighted with the attitude and I decided to reward some of those lads who did well for me.
“I gave Crainey and Ferguson a rest, and Ludo Sylvestre as well because I think it is really important to keep people fresh.
“Bob Harris was outstanding and Angel was majestic.
“Nouha Dicko was the unlucky one. He got a couple of goals in that Leeds game but he was injured for Saturday. “So was Kev Phillips and Roman Bednar is out, probably for the season. It gives other people a chance ... and boy, did they take it?”
Pool have another behind-closed-doors game lined up for today, taking on Rochdale at Bloomfield Road.
Craig Cathcart, Chris Basham and Brett Ormerod will all start, in the knowledge that an outstanding performance may force them into the manager’s plans for Friday’s next league outing at Watford.
Holloway added: “The lads now know that I won’t be scared of bringing people in if I think they deserve it.
“I am going to play some of the other lads (today) who didn’t get a game on Saturday, and I have told them that if they play well they could get in the team.
“I told the lads who played in the Leeds game the same and I kept my word.”