DEFENDING is the priority for Ian Holloway on the training ground this week as he aims to stop the Seasiders leaking goals.
The Pool boss is particularly concerned about his team’s tendency to concede late on and throw away winning positions.
That happened again at Everton, where Pool led 3-2 with 15 minutes left but conceded three in eight minutes to slide to defeat.
The manager said he would be working his squad hard on the training ground today, though his plans have been hit by the number of players away on international duty.
Neal Eardley and David Vaughan are with Wales and Charlie Adam is on Scotland duty.
David Carney needs a rest after playing two matches in four days last week, having only just returned from a hectic month with Australia in the Asian Cup.
There are injuries too, with Craig Cathcart sidelined by back and hamstring problems and Stephen Crainey recovering from ankle ligament damage.
Holloway said: “It isn’t ideal when players are injured or away, but it won’t stop us working hard with the ones still here.
“We need to get some work done on the training ground. We need to get a bit of cohesion and belief that we can see games out.
“We just have to become more solid, get a little tighter to people and make sure there is more talking going on.
“I’m sure we are going to score goals – it is how many we are going to let in.
“Everyone makes mistakes and when you do this level is so unforgiving, but Saturday was hard to take because we went ahead and looked on top.
“It was the same with Manchester United and at West Brom, and it is a habit we don’t want to get into.
“Maybe I didn’t need four strikers in the transfer window; maybe I should have bought four defenders.
“Things are just going against us at the moment and we have to get rid of that lack of belief in the last 15 minutes of games because it is not a nice feeling to keep losing late on. But we will keep going and I believe in what we are doing.”
The boss will hold a pep talk to urge his squad to stick together and get back to the all for one, one for all attitude that typified their early Premier League form.
Holloway always warned there would be a sticky patch. He says the trick now is to work hard, get back to basics and remember what made them successful in the first instance.
“The lads really are low and what you can’t afford to do is get like that,” said the boss.
“I have spoken to them about our defending because you have to do your job and also half of someone else’s as well. We were all doing that earlier in the season.
“On Saturday I saw a lot doing their own job but I didn’t see many of them doing half of someone else’s and helping out.
“That’s what we’ve got to get back to and we will on the training ground.
“As long as we can stick together and the fans stick with us, I believe we will be fine.
“I didn’t see signs of confidence going at Everton or a lack or belief – maybe a little after their fifth because we were totally dejected then.
“But I am still buoyant and I am still absolutely loving how we are playing. We just need to keep going and not get down.”