Matt Phillips may have netted his second hat-trick in a fortnight, but Blackpool manager Ian Holloway insists he can keep hold of his star man when the Premier League vultures start circling later this month.
Phillips was irresistible as a Fylde Coast derby, which had all the makings of a classic, turned into a damp squib as the hosts went down 5-1.
Phillips' treble was added to by goals from Lomana Lua Lua and Tom Ince, which were too much for Fleetwood in front of a sell-out crowd. But Holloway is adamant he will keep hold of the winger during the transfer window.
Holloway insists Pool have no need to sell the 20-year-old. "People will be looking at Matt now. Well, we've got him. If a top-five club wants to offer us a lot of money, fair enough, but if you're not we can catch you lot," he said. "That's my attitude and that kid trusts me. We're working hard together and why not play in a team instead of rotting in somebody's reserves and never get a look-in?"
After upsets in the previous two rounds, tackling a Championship side proved a bridge too far for Micky Mellon's Cods as they struggled with the pace and fluidity of the Seasiders' front three.
Holloway paid a big compliment to the hosts by making just three changes to the side that swept Middlesbrough aside last Monday, while giving Danny Wilson his debut following a loan move from Liverpool.
Lua Lua opened the scoring on 24 minutes as he finished off a superb move. A one-touch pass-and-move sequence found its way to the strikerwho beat the onrushing Scott Davies. The goal woke the home team up. Sought-after frontman Jamie Vardy was a constant threat, and drew a smart parry from Mark Howard. The goalkeeper then got up to tip Peter Till's follow-up header over the bar.
The tie looked to be out of Town's reach within 10 minutes of the restart. Phillips saw his curling effort deflected in to double the lead before Ince smashed in a Neal Eardley cross. However, as in the first half, Fleetwood reacted well and got a goal back with 20 to play. Vardy beat Alex Baptiste before thundering an effort past Howard. It looked like it might set up a tense finish but any hope of a comeback ended when Phillips added two more within a matter of minutes. First he finished off a counter-attack after Ince had been thwarted by Davies and he completed his hat-trick by poking home after a mazy solo run to make it 5-1.
Fleetwood's Vardy is another youngster who will almost certainly attract interest this month, with a host of Championship clubs – including Blackpool – said to be interested. But Mellon said. "I'm not going to be drawn on [Vardy's future]. He's a top player and it was a terrific finish – that's what he's capable of."
Holloway added: "My lads managed to realise what this meant to this club and what it meant to the Fylde Coast. We have played our part in a fantastic performance and so have they. Vardy was sensational," he said.
Fleetwood (4-4-2): Davies; Beesley, McNulty, Brown, Cavanagh; Pond, Milligan (Clancy, 82); Till, McGuire; Mangan, Vardy.
Blackpool (4-3-3): Howard; Eardley, Baptiste, Wilson Harris; Basham, Sylvestre, Angel (K Phillips, 84); M Phillips, Lua Lua (Taylor-Fletcher, 82), Ince.
Referee Dean Whitestone.
Man of the match M Phillips (Blackpool).
Match rating 7/10.Reuse content