Holloway injects calm into fears over Adam

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The Independent Football

Blackpool manager Ian Holloway is sure Charlie Adam is committed to the club after revealing the influential midfielder confronted his phobia of needles to play in Monday night's 2-1 win over West Bromwich.

Adam's future at Bloomfield Road is uncertain after it emerged last week he was taking the club to a Premier League arbitration court over alleged unpaid bonuses. Should the midfielder be successful with his claim there is a suggestion the legitimacy of his contract could come into question and possibly allow him to leave the club as a free agent.

Holloway is hopeful that situation will not not arise and sought to assure fans that his captain Adam was showing no signs of wanting to leave the club, after he took a pain-killing injection because of an ankle injury to take his place against West Bromwich.

The 24-year-old took just 12 minutes to make his mark as he fired his side ahead from the penalty spot and Holloway admitted that Adam remained a key part of his plans.

"Well, he's one of my best players so it's a no-brainer, isn't it?" Holloway said. "His pass got the penalty, some of his passes were fantastic. It was just whether he could do that with that ankle. He had a numbing injection with no risk to the joint, I'm happy to do that. Never in doubt. But he's scared of needles. Seriously. We had to do it yesterday, because he is literally scared of needles. So we had to hold him down. Well done to the boy. If you have got a phobia, then it is very difficult, isn't it?

"It just shows how much he wants to play for us. I'm glad he did and, hopefully, he'll keep doing it."

Blackpool's win against their fellow promoted rivals moved them into the top half of the Premier League table as they continue to defy pre-season expectations that they would struggle.

They were aided, however, by West Bromwich having the defenders Pablo Ibañez and Gonzalo Jara sent off inside the opening 30 minutes. Ibañez's dismissal after just 11 minutes, which led to Adam's penalty, was a contentious decision, though, with West Bromwich yesterday confirming they would appeal against the red card.

The club have until 1pm today to supply evidence for their appeal to the Football Association, and they seemingly have an ally in Holloway, who agreed with his West Bromwich counterpart Roberto Di Matteo that Ibañez had been unlucky.

The referee Michael Oliver, who at 25 years of age became the youngest to officiate in the Premier League earlier this season, deemed that the Spaniard had denied D J Campbell a goalscoring opportunity despite the merest of contact as the last man.

"The contact was minimal, Holloway said. "But would he [Campbell] have got the ball? Possibly, but was it definitely a goalscoring opportunity? That's what the game says, I don't know who says that. He's got Scott Carson in front of him and he's really close to him, so how can you say he's definitely going to score? For me it's a yellow card and at max a penalty. Yes he was the last man, but I don't know. Let (referees) make an educated decision. I'd have rather stuck the penalty in and moved on."

Di Matteo, who saw his team's six-game unbeaten run ended, said Jara had apologised for the rash challenge, but admitted the club could not afford to lose two defenders ahead of a busy run of games. "[Jara] has apologised but it's gone now, we lost and he's going to be suspended," he said. "Pablo is suspended as well if that stands, so we are looking at a difficult time ahead."