Going into the biggest game in at least three decades, what is Ian Holloway talking about? Politics!
‘I had a huge conversation on my doorstep with the Conservative candidate in my area last week…’ he said to the Gazette.
We shouldn’t be surprised really – the man, to coin a phrase from a stalwart from our forum, is as mad as a badger.
But his presence in the media and his deflection of attention from his team has been a contributory factor to Blackpool’s success this season – I’m fairly certain of that.
With under 48 hours to go until kick off at home to Bristol City, a game which is to be screen live on Sky Sports 2 (in high definition), Ollie is reacting exactly the same way as he has done all campaign long.
Despite the Seasiders holding all the cards for the first time this season, the pressure still feels as if it’s off.
A win against the Robins will secure the last playoff spot and put ‘Pool just three games away from the Premier League.
Holloway has this week praised his players, jovially spoken about the pressure being on us and asking whether we can cope, whilst thanking Valeri Belokon for his continued involvement in the club.
Reading the press (if indeed they do), what will the players be making of that? Not much I wouldn’t have thought, other than their manager believes in them. And so do the 11,000 home supporters who are going to pack Bloomfield Road come Sunday lunchtime and paint your TV sets tangerine.
I’ve read certain articles this week which have used words like “destiny”. Absolute rubbish. Destiny doesn’t come into Sunday’s fixture. Topping off a season beyond our wildest expectation is what Sunday is about: and that’s what I predict we’ll do, by making the top six.
IAN HOLLOWAY: ‘Taking it to the last game was what we spoke about eight weeks ago and it is pretty hard to believe we’ve done it.
‘But the lads have done fantastically well. To win six and lose one – and that one was Newcastle away. We have beaten Swansea and Nottingham Forest in this run. It is fantastic.
‘But now it’s down to the toughest of all.
‘To get the points you need will be hardest thing any of these lads has ever had to do.
‘But they have never been in a better frame of mind to do it. So let’s just wait and see. It will be magnificent if we can do it.’
Swansea striker LEE TRUNDLE on Bristol City’s chances: “We were at the PFA awards on Sunday so I met up with some of the Bristol boys then, I had a good chat with them and you could see they were up for the game. It definitely didn`t seem like they were thinking about their holidays or anything like that. They want to finish on a high and, if that helps us, so be it.
“They were talking about Steve Coppell`s arrival too and, with him coming in, players will want to show him what they can do. If they are in the team on Sunday, they will want to prove they are worthy of staying there next season. With Coppell watching, people will be playing for their futures. That will be a big motivator and should hopefully work in our favour.
“It`s a big turnaround for me. But I`m still close with a lot of the lads there and I know they will give it a go.
“They won`t lie down for Blackpool. Hopefully they will do us a massive favour.
“I definitely think they have a team that is capable of winning up there. There`s quality running throughout the squad and, as well as having an experienced defensive base, they have someone like Nicky Maynard scoring plenty of goals up front.’
Blackpool Team News:
The Seasiders are still without Hameur Bouazza, who could’ve played his last game for ‘Pool this season.
DJ Campbell was ill in the week but will be fine to start after three goals in his last two games.
It’ll be interesting to see if Billy Clarke is involved, with the former Ipswich man not being used for the last month.
As usual, the real decisions will be on the wings, with most of the side picking itself.
Player to watch: Charlie Adam
There was a debate on the forum the other day whether to play Adam or not. Obviously he has to play, but he’s got to be careful on 14 bookings – one more and he’s out for three games.
But he’ll be the one driving Blackpool on from the middle of midfield and don’t be surprised to see him add to his goal tally with an important strike!
Bristol City Team News:
City have no real injury worries, with Jamal Campbell-Ryce facing a late test. The winger has always posed a threat to Blackpool teams so hopefully he’ll piss out.
Gary Sawyer – on loan from Plymouth – is set to be given a chance at full back before Steve Coppell decides whether to sign him permanetly or not.
Incidently, Coppell won’t be at the game, with Millen still in charge.
Player to watch: Nicky Maynard
After a tricky first season at Ashton Gate last season, Maynard has come into his own this campaign, scoring 20 goals so far.
He’s quick and has a real eye for goal.
And he’s scored one of the goals of the season so far, with a breathtaking strike away at QPR.
To predict the final game of the season, click here >>>
It’s either next Saturday at home to Nottingham Forest, or in August…