IAN Holloway says his players deserve to win at Wembley for the effort they have put into this season.
The Seasiders boss has pointed out that West Ham’s budget is more than four times bigger than his club’s.
The difference in what the players earn is astronomical too.
Yet despite all that, Holloway’s men have once again punched above their weight to make it to within 90 minutes of the Premier League.
Manager Holloway said: “I want to go to Wembley and make sure I am ready to help get the lads what I think they deserve.
“They deserve better contracts and they deserve to play at the higher level.
“But they have to earn that right by now stopping a magnificent club in West Ham that has been in the top flight for nearly all my life.
“The lovely thing, though, is that I know my group will give it a real good go. “I cannot tell you how proud I am that these lads have gone and done the business again.
“They are just an amazing group and I can’t give them enough praise.
“That’s why I think they deserve better.
“We trained at Aston Villa’s training ground the other week, before that second leg at Birmingham in the semi-finals, and it was something else.
“I wish I could transport that training ground to Squires Gate and give it to the lads because they deserve it … and that was only Villa’s youth set-up.
“So we have a lot of growing to do and these boys deserve that because they have served their club bigger and better than anyone I have ever worked with in my life.
“They are vastly over-achieving with the money they are being paid, and we are now going to take on West Ham whose budget is at least four times higher than ours. That’s the truth.
“But I still believe we might overturn them. We have to try our best, and ever since I have been here my lads’ best has been absolutely outstanding.
“I am sick and fed up of talking about them they are so good.”
Though he isn’t as vocal about it, Holloway is also mighty proud of his own achievements.
The club was in a shoddy state morale-wise last summer.
The manager picked himself off the floor, shook off the disappointment of losing Premier League status and his best players, and led Pool to fifth place in the Championship and another play-off final.
“I don’t think people probably realise how difficult it was last summer,” said the boss.
“I know I have talked about it a lot already but if you try to put yourself in my position it really was so tough.
“If I had been a new manager coming into the club, it wouldn’t have been half as bad because I would have had fresh energy.
“Look at someone like Chris Hughton. Yes, he came into Birmingham last summer, when they had major problems because they had just been relegated, but he was a new bloke. It was fresh to him.
“But I had actually been at Blackpool the previous two years, so I had experienced so much and it was so draining.
“We had to live through all these things together – the initial euphoria and then the sickening, thudding disappointment of coming down and the team breaking up.
“So to pick ourselves up again, especially when everyone expected us to be knocked out of sight, has been so pleasing and I do feel a little bit of pride about that as the manager.
“However, the main people to congratulate are the players – they have been simply outstanding. And that’s why I hope we win.
“They deserve it for everything they have given this year, in difficult circumstances.”