Ollie - Team will break up

Blackpool manager ready to lead promotion challenge

Holloway: Hopes to keep the Blackpool squad together as he looks to fight back next season

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Ian Holloway has declared himself ready for Blackpool's promotion challenge next season but admits it will be difficult to keep the current squad intact.

The Seasiders were relegated from the Premier League following a 4-2 defeat to champions Manchester United on the final day of the campaign.

Holloway remains extremely proud of his players after putting up such a good fight when they were given little chance of survival by most experts 12 months ago.

However, he accepts that there will now be a lot of interest in those that have acquitted themselves so well in the top flight.

"I have got a very hard job on my hands now to keep this team together. None of them want to fall into the Championship and some of them will get snapped up by the vultures. "

Ian Holloway

Quotes of the week

"I have got a very hard job on my hands now to keep this team together," he said.

"None of them want to fall into the Championship and some of them will get snapped up by the vultures.

"I know what they are earning - and what they will go back to - and they won't want to do it.

"They are an exceptional group and that group will never be the same again."

Pride

Holloway recognises that those players whose contracts expire later in the summer are particularly likely to leave, while star midfielder Charlie Adam's future will once again become the subject of intense speculation.

He said: "David Vaughan, Stephen Crainey, Matthew Gilks - I don't think they'll want to stay, because I think they can get better contracts at a higher level.

"And what about Charlie Adam? If we'd won today, I might have been able to offer Charlie a new contract and persuade him to stay. What's going to happen with him?"

Holloway nevertheless insists he has the stomach to lead the Blackpool revival and bring the club back to the Premier League.

"You are famous for two seconds in football, then you are gone," he said.

"If you aim for the stars, you might hit the moon. I have nothing but pride for my players and the way they have performed.

"I am ready for the fight to get us back."

Premier League blast

However, for now, Holloway is only interested in righting a few wrongs.

"The fat lady has finished singing and I do not like the tune," he stated.

"The Premier League have rung me up and said 'we really love you Ian Holloway'. But they have never helped me.

"It is a great league. But the people who run it shouldn't. There should be people above them telling them what to do.

"Nobody has to hear from me for another 12 months but hopefully I will get the chance to tell them about how they do things."

Holloway's anger stems from being told he had to tell players by the third Saturday in May whether options on their contracts were being taken up.

In the instances of Richard Kingson, Marlon Harewood and Brett Ormerod, all of whom were on the bench against United, the answer was no.

Others - Ian Evatt and Keith Southern - are being retained but are now condemned to vastly reduced terms due to Blackpool's relegation.

"Ask yourself how you would have felt to be me on Monday morning," said Holloway.

"The Football League give you five days after your last game. The Premier League told us we had to stick to the exact wording of the contracts.

"This was before the biggest game of my life. Surely common sense should have applied and I could have told them afterwards."