Stoke defender Danny Higginbotham has hailed Blackpool boss Ian Holloway ahead of the two sides' clash at the weekend.
The Seasiders go into Saturday's game at the Britannia sitting in 13th position in the table, with 19 points from their opening 15 games in the top flight.
Many saw Holloway's side as favourites for the drop at the start of the season, but Higginbotham is not surprised by their success.
He believes outspoken Holloway is a 'breath of fresh air' and he has nothing but respect for the Seasiders boss.
The Stoke defender told the club's official website: "Some people say they are the surprise package of the season so far, but I don't think so.
"They've got a quality manager and they have some top players there too, so to be honest they fully deserve to be where they are in the league."
He added: "He (Holloway) is brilliant, and has been an absolute breath of fresh air. His comments are always bang on and straight to the point.
"I have a hell of a lot of respect for the man, because of what he has done throughout his career in management.
"He has been a major success for Blackpool and he has taken them to a place that nobody believed they could reach."