Blackpool must start over again with early spirit, urges Campbell

Striker DJ Campbell is convinced that Blackpool can drag themselves out of Premier League relegation trouble as they embark upon a five-game run-in to their season.

The Seasiders slipped into the bottom three as a result of Saturday's crushing 3-1 home defeat by Wigan Athletic, their fifth loss in six Premier League games.

They have won only two of their 16 league fixtures since the turn of the year to slide down the table and into the scrap for survival.

They had been banking on a season-saving return from four successive home games, but Wigan's win at Bloomfield Road came on the back of Arsenal's the previous weekend, and that has piled on the pressure for the visits of Newcastle United and the FA Cup finalists Stoke City before the end of the month.

Campbell told the club's website yesterday: "The good thing is that we have still got five games to go. Hopefully, we can buck our ideas up because we need to.

"We are disappointed with the position we are in because we were eighth at one point last year, so we now need to stand up and be counted.

"The players, the manager, the staff and the fans need to stick together and be counted as one.

"From day one, our position was to stay in this league. Our togetherness and ethic to work for each other has been second to none, and we need to keep that going to achieve what we were achieving at the start of the season.

"Our season starts now. Fingers crossed, we can turn around our fortunes.

"We are only a point away from getting out of the relegation zone and there's still a lot to play for. We knew it wouldn't always be rosy and we would have settled for 17th place at the start of the season if it meant staying in this league."

The Blackpool manager, Ian Holloway, was yesterday anxiously awaiting an update on his key midfielder Charlie Adam, who left the stadium on crutches on Saturday evening after having his foot put in a protective cast while medical staff waited for the swelling to recede before they could fully assess the injury.

At West Ham United, Jack Collison hopes to be back in time to help the club fight for Premier League survival after more than a year out with a serious knee injury.

The midfielder, 22, was set for another run-out with the reserves against Bolton Wanderers last night, in a game also due to feature Kieron Dyer as he also builds up match fitness after a loan spell with his former club Ipswich Town.

The Hammers can do with all the extra help they can muster as their manager, Avram Grant, looks to guide his men out of the bottom three, although it is looking like a stern test, with his former club Chelsea next up this weekend.

While the trip to Stamford Bridge will come too soon for Collison, the Wales midfielder hopes it will not be long before he can get back into first-team contention.

"I am ready and looking to do my bit," Collison told the club's website. "I have only played a couple of reserve games, but I have been training for a long while now with the team.

"The medical department have been brilliant to me. It's been a real team effort and they've been working hard with me around the clock. They have got me back into good shape and I feel good and I'm ready to go.

"It would be nice to have an opportunity between now and the end of the season to help the team out."

Although only two points separate West Ham and safety, they have lost three in a row and after Chelsea a trip to Manchester City follows.

While it is a daunting prospect, having two of the final three games at home – to fellow strugglers Blackburn and fast-fading Sunderland as well as a six-pointer away to Wigan – could just save the Upton Park club from a return to the Football League.

The West Ham legend Martin Peters has urged the current squad to fight to the very end to keep the east London club among the elite. The England World Cup winner, 67, who came through the youth ranks at the Boleyn Ground, said: "We have got some tough games – Chelsea and Manchester City away – but hopefully we might be able to win the last three.

"I am sure all the players want to work hard, graft hard and work together. You need them all working hard and working together, looking after each other.

"They know what they have got to do – they have got to work their socks off. If they can do that and get that little bit of luck, then you never know," Peters added.



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