Holloway ready for do or die day at Old Trafford
Blackpool 4 Bolton 3
Monday 16 May 2011
The first sight that greets you entering the Bloomfield Road reception is a plaque commemorating Blackpool's 1953 FA Cup final victory over Bolton, the Lancashire club's finest hour.
That famous day was evoked by Saturday's identical 4-3 victory over the same opponents – a reminder of the old trophy's once gleaming lustre – but if this Blackpool team are to become heroes the hardest part is still to come.
To escape the bottom three, Ian Holloway's men almost certainly require victory on Sunday at a Manchester United side who have dropped only two home points this term. Should they get it they would arguably warrant a plaque of their own. Their manager, Ian Holloway, seems to think so and the financial disparities of modern football support his view; when a Cup final is won by a player earning over £200,000 a week, survival for a team whose biggest wage is £10,000 may be the greater feat.
"I need to be able to go there as a manager with my team with the worst budget there's ever been in this division – going to the champions – and still give ourselves a chance to do what I think is quite incredible," said Holloway. "I said to my boys when I came in: 'we're going to play a way that's attractive, a way that suits all of you and you'll get better and hopefully there'll be a statue to you one day at this wonderful club', and maybe there will".
This breathless victory – their first in 10 matches – was Holloway's Blackpool at their best. They traded blows with Bolton, falling behind, losing the lead twice but eventually winning through a spectacular Charlie Adam strike.
"If people had said before the season started that we'd reach the last game needing a win to stay up we'd have snatched their hand off," said DJ Campbell, scorer of two first-half goals. "The downside is it happens to be at Old Trafford."
Blackpool last won there in January 1962 though Holloway enjoyed a 4-1 success on his first visit as a QPR player on 1 January 1992. There were key United absentees on an evening memorable for Dennis Bailey's hat-trick – Sir Alex Ferguson's autobiography puts them down to flu rather than the alleged New Year's Eve excesses, and Holloway will wish for a repeat with United's focus switched to the Champions League final.
"That was the first time I'd ever played there and Dennis Bailey was on fire – everything we hit went in that day," Holloway recalled. "We probably need one of them. They're going to have a party, who knows what they're going to be like? I want my lads to try and perform in that scenario, it would be fitting for our overall story to manage to get something that may keep us up."
Scorers: Blackpool Campbell 9, 45, Puncheon 19, Adam 63 Bolton Davies 6, Taylor 24, Sturridge 53. Subs: Blackpool Beattie (Puncheon, 81), Ormerod (Taylor-Fletcher, 82), Cathcart (Adam, 88). Bolton Cohen (Muamba, 50), Klasnic (Gardner, 78), Moreno (K Davies, 83). Booked: Blackpool Southern, Taylor-Fletcher. Bolton Robinson, Cahill, Knight, K Davies. Man of the match Adam. Match rating 9/10. Attempts on target: Blackpool 8 Bolton 9. Ref A Marriner (W Midlands). Att 15,979.
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