Holloway irked by transfer talk
West Bromwich Albion 3 Blackpool 2
Monday 17 January 2011
Roberto Di Matteo and Ian Holloway hugged warmly after their teams had gone at one another as if it was Sunday park football. Peter Odemwingie won it for Albion, showing the benefits of embracing sports science, while Blackpool's fans were left wondering whether Charlie Adam was kissing them goodbye.
After a week of being courted by Aston Villa and Birmingham, the Scot threw his shirt to the tangerine hordes at the end. Holloway, annoyed by other managers discussing his player, insisted it did not mean Adam was leaving but warned that "the clock is ticking for Charlie".
Adam has 18 months left on his contract and Holloway remarked pointedly that "he owes us". Yet while the player offered a straight bat to questions about his future – in contrast to wonderfully inventive passing – the Blackpool manager's position appears to be that he will sell if the price is right and the approach above-board. "All of a sudden people are trying to brag that they've offered money," he said. "Well offer the right amount or shut up – that's how I feel."
Was there any chance Adam would sign a new deal? "If we finish sixth or seventh and the chairman buys all sorts of players he might," said Holloway, "but are we realistically going to be able to compete with the top six? The answer's no. I want him to go to a club who won't struggle, enjoy playing in that team and winning. I've told Charlie he should play for one of the top clubs and I think he will."
The gregariousness that is Adam's trademark does not come easily to Odemwingie. The Nigeria striker was "a bit down" and needed to "free my mind" after fluffing a penalty at a critical stage against Manchester United. "I'm someone who plays the tape over and over in my head all the time," he said. "I had to go and see the psychologist for two days and it really worked. He tried to bring out what was in my mind and then gave me a few keys on how to work it through."
Some may see his admission of sensitivity as symptomatic of Albion's soft centre. However, after five consecutive defeats they overcame the deflation of conceding early to David Vaughan's long-range drive, Odemwingie firing them level and James Morrison nudging them ahead.
Blackpool poured men forward as if we were still in the era of Matthews and Mortensen. Gary Taylor-Fletcher equalised, only for wretched defending by Craig Cathcart to give Odemwingie the opportunity for redemption. "It was about belief," said the match-winner. "The coaches had mentioned it, it was on the big screen before the game and in the pre-match talk, that if we have a chance at the end, you have to believe."
And what, the normally circumspect Di Matteo was asked, did Holloway say in their post-match clinch? "I just told him he's a nightmare," said Albion's head coach. "The way his team plays causes so many problems."
West Brom Cox (Morrison, 69), Tchoyi (Dorrans, 85), Shorey (Mulumbu, 90) Unused Carson (gk), Pablo, Zuiverloon, Bednar.
Blackpool Phillips (Grandin, 54), Ormerod (Eardley, 67), Baptiste (Varney, 77) Unused Rachubka (gk), Southern, Sylvestre, Euell.
Booked: West Brom Cech. Blackpool Cathcart, Vaughan.
Man of the match Odemwingie.
Referee S Attwell (Warwickshire).
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