Blackpool caretaker Steve Thompson wants job on permanent basis

Michael Appleton left to take charge at Blackburn

Blackpool caretaker manager Steve Thompson insists he is ready to take up the reins on a permanent basis.

Dundee United boss Peter Houston is the front-runner to succeed Michael Appleton at Bloomfield Road after the Clydesdale Bank Premier League outfit gave him permission to open talks yesterday morning.

Thompson was placed in temporary control when Ian Holloway left the Fylde coast to take charge of Crystal Palace in October and, as he did on that occasion, the 48-year-old former Bolton and Rotherham midfielder has stated his claim for the top job to Seasiders chairman Karl Oyston.

"I'm as ready as I'll ever be to be a number one, whatever Karl decides," Thompson told Blackpool Player ahead of tonight's FA Cup third-round replay against Fulham.

"I've got a healthy relationship with the players. People say I'm close to the players - I am close.

"On the back of being close I've got two promotions and a play-off final.

"I work on those training pitches for as long as they want to do but I'm not their mate. I go out there to coach and to make them better players.

"That's Steve Thompson. Whatever happens, I'll give this club my best shot whatever role I'm in."

Following a 1-1 draw at Craven Cottage in what proved to be Appleton's final game at the helm before moving to Blackburn, a victory over Fulham would land Blackpool a potential fourth-round trip to Manchester United.

The Barclays Premier League leaders must overcome their own home replay having ended matters all square in the capital, with West Ham the opponents in question.

But Thompson does not want his players' focus to deviate from the Cottagers, who are expected to rest talisman Dimitar Berbatov.

"It's a massive game," Thompson added. "They're a decent team, they've got some very, very good players and we'll give them the utmost respect.

"But we're at Bloomfield Road and we've got to make sure that we play to our tempo.

"We're not looking past Fulham yet. We know what's there but there's two games to go. This won't need much of a team-talk."

PA

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