Round-up: Promotion hopes burn bright for Holloway

 

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The Independent Online

Ian Holloway believes Blackpool are right on track to secure promotion to the Premier League after Stephen Dobbie's double helped his side beat leaders Southampton 3-0 on Saturday. The Tangerines lie fifth, ahead of Brighton and Middlesbrough on goal difference, and Holloway is optimistic about their chances.

"I am very proud," enthused the Blackpool manager. "Everyone has done what I asked of them and it was a very positive performance from us. Already we are better on points than we were at the same stage when we got promoted last time."

Ian Evatt completed the scoring in the second half but Southampton could have taken the lead early on when Billy Sharp's spot-kick was saved by Blackpool goalkeeper Matthew Gilks, a moment Holloway believed to be pivotal.

"The penalty save was probably the most important save Matthew Gilks has ever made," said Holloway, "When that happened I always had a feeling it was going to be our day."

Watford manager Sean Dyche, meanwhile, remains hopeful that his side can sustain a promotion push after their 2-0 victory at Leeds. Chris Iwelumo's double took Watford's recent points tally to 17 out of a possible 21.

Asked about the prospect of finishing in the top six, Dyche said: "There are some big clubs fighting for play-off places but we will see what comes." Dyche also praised Iwelumo for his match-winning contribution. "Big Chris has been excellent all season," he said of the forward, who ended his 22-game goal drought by sliding Troy Deeney's through-ball past goalkeeper Andy Lonergan, before finding the net from close range with one minute left. "He has been questioned all his career," added Dyche. "When he is ready to deliver he is a real handful."

Eddie Howe claimed Burnley have the best forwards in the division after his side thrashed lowly Portsmouth 5-1 at Fratton Park. Charlie Austin struck a hat-trick for the visitors to add to goals from Kieran Trippier and Danny Ings.

"I think we have the best strikers in the Championship," stated Howe. "We have Charlie and Danny, who are both top-quality forwards. They are very clinical."

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