Holloway - Veteran duo the spark

Blackpool boss reveals inner strife in early weeks of the season

Kevin Phillips: Veteran striker has been a key figure in Blackpool reaching the play-offs

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Ian Holloway believes the signings of Kevin Phillips and Barry Ferguson were the catalyst for Blackpool reaching the Championship play-offs again.

Blackpool were relegated from the Premier League last season and saw influential trio Charlie Adam, DJ Campbell and David Vaughan leave the club over the summer.

There was also an issue with those that remained at Bloomfield Road after player wages were reduced on the back of dropping into the Championship.

Holloway concedes it was a difficult time, but is now feeling positive as the Seasiders prepare to host Birmingham City in the first leg of the play-offs on Friday night.

Hideous

"The energy around the place was hideous," Holloway said. "We won the first two games after a terrible pre-season - absolutely awful results.

"I think we got beaten twice, didn't really play very well and everybody was moaning and arguing about their money because it went back down.

"Luckily the chairman agreed to move nearly all of them back up because of the arguments that I was having with him and the club secretary. He didn't have to but he did it. I felt that settled things down."

Having extinguished internal strife, Holloway believes the subsequent signings of two veterans signed from Friday's opponents helped to set Blackpool on the right path.

"Kevin Phillips came and chose us, Barry Ferguson came and chose us and I thought that was the catalyst," he explained. "People of that calibre wanted to come to us and play the way we do.

"So we utilised that and then there's been important things throughout the season - the addition of (Lomana) LuaLua, the addition of Stephen Dobbie lately.

"The thing I'm pleased about most is the lads have just carried on and improved."