Ian Holloway says his class of 2012 can stand shoulder to shoulder with any of the club's big names from the past as he prepares Blackpool for their FA Cup replay at Sheffield Wednesday tonight.
Blackpool's most famous player of all, Sir Stanley Matthews, was at the centre of the club's greatest achievement in 1953 when orchestrating their 4-3 FA Cup final win against Bolton. But as the Seasiders head for a fourth-round replay at Hillsborough, Holloway insists his current crop, plus those who moved on in the summer, could one day be spoken of in the same breath.
Holloway, whose side earnt a replay thanks to Kevin Phillips's late penalty at Bloomfield Road 10 days ago, said: "I'm very proud of the will to win that we're getting again after all the disappointment of losing arguably some of the best players this club has ever had.
"Charlie [Adam], Vaughany [David Vaughan] and DJ [Campbell] – I would put them in the same list as some of the famous ones we've had before because getting to the Premier League and almost staying up with 20 minutes to go at Manchester United, they've got to be up there with some of the greats."
Blackpool, relegated last summer after one season in the Premier League, climbed to fourth place in the Championship following Saturday's 3-1 win at Cardiff City. "At the moment I'm loving what we're doing," said Holloway. "It shows we've come a bit of a way because Kevin Phillips has chosen [to play for] us, Roman Bednar has chosen us. Everybody knows we don't pay the same as other people, but that speaks volumes for what we've got going here with our lads and I can't thank them enough."
Wednesday manager Gary Megson does not think his side's Cup run is a hindrance as he attempts to guide the club back to the Championship. Wednesday moved up to second in League One after Saturday's 2-1 win over Yeovil Town. "Each time we do OK in the Cup it means we have to postpone a league game in a fixture list that's pretty packed anyway," he said. "There's two ways of looking at it. You're playing all the time and everybody's got that interest, and it's good financially."
Millwall turn their attention to their replay at Championship promotion favourites Southampton after Saturday's defeat at West Ham left them just above the relegation zone. But midfielder Liam Trotter saw enough at Upton Park to suggest their fortunes will soon change.
"There's lots to be positive about," he said. "We played the better football and I'm confident we can kick on and push up the league soon."
Southampton's manager, Nigel Adkins, will rest some of his key players with one eye on the promotion race, so teenagers Luke Shaw, James Ward-Prowse and Jack Stephens are set to be involved again.