Holloway brings Christmas cheer

Ian Holloway
Ian Holloway
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Ian Holloway has proved he is no Scrooge – he’s giving his players Christmas off.

Despite having a match at Barnsley on Boxing Day, the manager will allow the squad to spend the day with their families – claiming there is ample time this week to get all their preparations done.

Holloway has been a player himself, and knows what it is like to be away from his family during the festive season.

It’s something he wouldn’t wish on anyone else – hence the decision to scrap Christmas Day training.

It is good news for all the players – especially for Barry Ferguson and Kevin Phillips, who travel long distances to get to training.

“Because the next game falls on a Monday, we have nine days to prepare this year, so I’m letting the lads have Christmas Day off,” confirmed the boss.

“I think you should be with your family on Christmas Eve.

“I spent my first Christmas Eve with Blackpool on my own, and I swore I’d never do that again.

“I don’t want Barry Ferguson sat in some hotel without his family, just to train for 40 minutes on Christmas Day.

“So I’ve told the lads to wake up with their kids on Christmas morning – and let’s hope they repay me with a win at Barnsley.”

One man who might be back in a Pool shirt for that game is Alex Baptiste.

The 25-year-old has missed the last three matches with a hamstring tear, but is targeting Oakwell for his return.

“It’s been a frustrating few weeks because I’m one of those players who hates not being involved and not training,” said Baptiste.

“I find it very difficult to watch football when I’m not fit.

“I’ve watched our games, but you can’t beat being out there and playing.

“The injury itself is coming along really well.

“I did some running and a bit of work before the Watford game, and I was hoping I might make it back for that, but it wasn’t to be.

“We’ve got a good few days to prepare for the Boxing Day game now, and I think if I can get a few days’ training in and it feels good, then I could be back.”