Pool’s gruelling set-piece training

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IAN Holloway has trained his players so hard this week they’ve got sore foreheads.

The Seasiders boss is determined his team get back to winning ways in tomorrow’s teatime sell-out with Championship leaders Southampton.

And with the defence a concern after a run of leaking goals, Holloway has described how he’s done everything to try and resolve the problem.

“I’ve looked at DVD’s of our recent matches – and particularly at the third goal we conceded at Reading last week – and the set-pieces we have been letting in have been alarming,” he said.

“The ball is being crossed in and we are like a load of goldfish staring at it.

“But we have practised it this week, and they have all sore foreheads now.

“I want us to be much better in that area and we need to be against Southampton because they are top of the table for a reason.

“They are going for promotion but if we can win, it will put us all in a better frame of mind and edge us closer to where we want to be – in the top six.”

Matt Phillips, Tom Ince, Keith Southern and Neal Eardley are all expected to return to the line-up, with Stephen Dobbie hoping for his first start since his loan move from Swansea.

“Even if we win every single game I don’t think we will catch the top two now,” added Holloway.

“So I have had a long chat with the players this week and what I have said to them is realign your sights and let’s get in the play-offs.”

“The fact is that we are now seventh and if that isn’t good enough for some with seven games left then we should totally and utterly have a look at ourselves, all of us, and stop whinging and moaning.

“There are 21 points still up for grabs but we are going to need a good run to win those play-offs, like we had two years ago. We are going to have to be the best, most consistent team.

“We have gone right back to basics all week and I am hoping to see a response tomorrow.

“Let’s see if we can go about it the right way with the right mentality, enjoy ourselves and create something else which will be a bit special.”