Ollie: It’s time to believe

Ian Holloway won't be letting his head drop
Ian Holloway won't be letting his head drop
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IAN Holloway has admitted only a handful of people give his team “a cat in hell’s chance” of beating the drop.

With two of Pool’s remaining three Premier League games at Tottenham and Manchester United, the pundits are almost unanimous in tipping them for the drop.

But Holloway isn’t at all bothered because he says outsiders don’t realise the spirit and character his team possess.

The manager said: “I am very proud of what the fans have done this season, what the club has done, the team, my staff ... everything. But I want to win enough points to stay in the Premier League because I honestly believe we deserve to.

“That point we got on Saturday is good because it has kept us out of the bottom three – but I want to be out of the bottom three after the last game.

“Now we have some work to do because when you look at the fixtures there aren’t too many people who would give us a cat in hell’s chance.

“But they don’t know us. They don’t know my team. They don’t know what we are all about.”

Holloway backs up his argument by pointing to the Stoke game and the battling point Pool gained.

The manager was delighted with his side’s performance and said: “We are still learning at this level and yet look at how well we did against a Stoke side that is now established at Premier League level and playing so well they are in the FA Cup Final.

“They are very solid defensively and don’t let many goals in, whereas my team is a bit off-the-wall and has a ‘we’d-better-attack mentality’ because we couldn’t even defend well in the Championship. That’s a fact.

“On Saturday our defensive side looked very sound but Stoke’s was so good that it almost stifled our attacking options. Maybe one or two of my more influential players weren’t absolutely bob on.

“We need that little bit of extra flair from certain people that unlocks the door and unfortunately on the day that didn’t happen.”

The statistics may paint a miserable picture – one win in the last 15 games – but Holloway believes the last two performances against Newcastle and Stoke show his team have turned the corner.

“Yes, we have had a really horrid run and I think the way things went against us hit our spirit a little, which is quite understandable because we are all human,” Holloway said.

“Last minute goals, decisions not going our way ... we were perhaps dwelling on those things too much.”

Holloway pinpoints two games which hit morale. “Manchester United, when we were 2-0 up and they scored three in the last 20 minutes, and Everton, when we were 3-2 up and they scored three in the last 12 minutes.

“That really does knock a group and you lose sight of all the positives that you should have got out of those performances.

“Instead of saying, ‘Didn’t we do well against two really good teams’, you just concentrate on how you threw away leads and then it becomes really difficult.

“But I think we have weathered that now. We played really well on Saturday and, looking at the other results over the weekend, I think we are in a hell of a great shape.

“I’d prefer to be safe already but I am still thoroughly enjoying the challenge of this wonderful football club.”

Holloway felt Sunday’s ceremony to unveil the Jimmy Armfield statue summed up the spirit of the Seasoiders.

“So many people turned out to honour a great ambassador, not just for Blackpool but for the whole country.

“That’s the way we treat our legends here, and the lads I’ve got will one day have statues built of them if they keep playing the way they are.

“That’s quite an incentive because Jimmy’s statue is magnificent.

“I didn’t realise he was that tall in real life! No wonder he played for England and no wonder he was brilliant for us!”