IAN Holloway put his players through a marathon training session as he prepares to spring a surprise or two at Coventry tonight.
The Seasiders boss is contemplating handing a league debut to fit-again Spaniard Angel Martinez.
Holloway wants to shake up his midfield and attack as he bids to get Pool back to winning ways after conceding a winner in the final seconds at Portsmouth on Saturday.
Billy Clarke and Brett Ormerod are fresh after being rested at the weekend, while Tom Ince – so impressive on his full debut at Fratton Park – hopes to keep his place.
It means the manager has some decisions to make and 25-year-old Martinez, signed from Spanish club Girona in the summer, is in his thoughts.
Holloway said: “Angel has been injured. He hurt his shoulder and I would have expected him to play before now but for that. He has a first-team role to play.
“Coventry are a very different animal to Portsmouth, and if we play our normal way against them I’m not sure we’ll get exactly what we want.
“I have talked to my players about how to adapt and where the space will be.
“I had a look at several people in the formation we’re going to play, and hopefully that will enable me to get my team selection just right.”
The manager had been aiming to make a breakthrough in the transfer market ahead of tonight’s contest but one of the two loan deals he has been working on has fallen through.
Holloway explained: “I had a call from one agent who said his player doesn’t want to come here because he believes he will get in his Premier League club’s first team before January.
“If he doesn’t, he might consider coming to us then. He said he likes me and he likes how our lads play, but that doesn’t help me now.
“I can’t see too many managers sat with loads of spare people they want to give to me, so they can go out and score a load of goals for us.
“That’s the way it is and it is really difficult. I know the type of player I want because we know what we are missing.
“I would suggest many of our fans could tell me too. We’ve lost a fantastic long-range passer from midfield, who scored more than 30 goals in two seasons (Charlie Adam).
“We’ve lost a brilliant short passer (David Vaughan), though we’ve gained one in Barry Ferguson.
“And we’ve lost DJ Campbell’s sharpness over the top. We’ve got Kevin Phillips but they are not the same type of player.
“We’ve lost Jason Puncheon’s goals from midfield and his retention of the ball. We’ve lost Luke Varney’s aerial and running ability.
“At the minute, I haven’t got all of those things. We are a tad predictable, so I’ve got to make sure we are not and that might need to come from outside.”
Holloway remains hopeful of adding to the squad, though chairman Karl Oyston has declined requests for media interviews this season to confirm what funding is available to the manager in the loan market.
Lomana LuaLua could be one addition to Holloway’s squad.