IAN Holloway reckons his Blackpool players are well capable of holding their nerve during the Premier League run-in and picking up the wins required to play with the big boys again next season.
It’s not just a case of blind optimism. The manager basing his confidence on performances this season (apart from Wolves away, there’s barely been a stinker), remaining fixtures (Pool have four home games on the bounce next month, three of them against Wigan, Newcastle and Stoke) and the fact that they have been in this high-pressure situation before.
With nine games to go last season, Pool were faced with a similar scenario – they needed results to make their dreams come true.
Back in the Championship, attempting to chase down Swansea and edge their way into the play-off places, Holloway’s men knew that nothing less than wins galore would do.
The pressure was intense, but they prevailed, winning seven and drawing one of their final nine matches.
This season, Pool need three or maybe only two wins from their last nine fixtures to stay in the Premier League
Grante,d it’s a whole different ball game in terms of quality and getting victories at this level is a damned sight tougher than it was in the Championship.
But Holloway believes there are parallels to be drawn.
“This time last year, with nine games left we had hardly any room for error at all.
“This season we can probably afford to lose all but a couple of our remaining fixtures and still stay up,” said the boss.
“Obviously it is a higher standard but that is the way I am looking at it.
“And although it might have been in the Championship last year, don’t forget that is one of the toughest divisions to get out of.
“We were under a lot of pressure but the lads were magnificent and they held their nerve all the way through.
“They carried that on in the play-offs and even at Wembley, where we went behind twice but didn’t panic at all.
“We knew we would come back and win, and that is the kind of belief and determination we are going to need during this run-in to stay up.”
So, just in case the players need cheering up as they prepare for the final push, here is a reminder of what happened in the final, stirring nine games of last season.