IAN Holloway believes the Seasiders are finally starting to shake off the misery of Premier League relegation and get back to their best.
The manager reckons today’s Championship battle with a resurgent Millwall will be a huge test.
But he and his players couldn’t be in better spirits going into the game after the midweek thumping of Leeds, where Pool had 76 per cent of possession and rattled in five goals.
“I think there are signs we are getting over the disappointment of coming down,” said Holloway.
“Someone said to me, ‘You can’t be in a better place going into today’s match’.
“I said yes we could – we could be top of the league with 33 points like Southampton!
“But we are feeling good, and the Leeds game was a great match for us.
“I saw some fantastic signs, signs that I haven’t seen for a while. We’ve done it in patches but not over the full 90 minutes like we did at Elland Road.
“The group needed some belief and that will help them.
“We also need the fans to continue to support us, and I felt the support the other night was fantastic.
“I’ve said it before, but it really is all about our energy.
“This is about building, because this isn’t the team which was successful before.
“I want to get away from negatives. There weren’t any when I first came here.
“There were some negative things about the chairman but when he interviewed me for this job, I asked him some questions, and I liked his answers. I still quite like his answers now.
“We are all trying to do our best.
“I know damn well I was part of the best team Blackpool has had for 40 years, and I want this team now to get over the fact that the last team did really well and to try to stamp our own identity on games.
“There were signs of that the other night with the way we passed the ball and moved and the way new people came in and did really well.”
Those new people – specifically two-goal Lomano LuaLua and midfielder Ludovic Sylvestre – will almost certainly start again against Millwall, with Holloway unlikely to tinker with a winning formula.
He will have to make one change, with Ian Evatt suspended after picking up a fifth booking at Leeds.
Alex Baptiste will move to the centre of the defence, with Neal Eardley coming in at right back.
“I am looking forward to the game, but we’re well aware how difficult it will be,” added Holloway.
“Millwall have won their last three and I was impressed with what I saw when I watched their games on DVD.
“Hopefully we will go into the international break with another three points but we will have to earn them against a very good side.”