What is the special formula that Holloway has created at Blackpool?

With Blackpool set to contest the Championship play-off final against Cardiff City on Saturday, people must be asking the question, how has Ian Holloway achieved this minor miracle?

The Seasiders were expected to be more involved at the foot of the table this season but Ian Holloway has taken them to within 90 minutes of reaching the Premiership. The reason for Blackpool’s success this season has been because of their attacking mentality which them employ with a 4-3-3 formation and they have always attacked their opposition right from the off rather than pick their moments carefully. Their brand of football has been a breath of fresh air for the Championship and one could argue that they are the most entertaining side to watch in the league.

It’s no secret that midfielder Charlie Adam has also been key to their success; the Scotsman arrived in the summer from Rangers for a fee of £500,000 and has been well worth the money. He is the heartbeat of the side and sits in the midfield dictating the play, rather like a poor-man’s Andrea Pirlo. Regardless of the outcome on Saturday it’s fair to say that Adam, who finished the campaign as the Championship’s joint-fourth highest goalscorer, will probably be playing in the Premiership next season one way or another.

However Adam isn’t the only clever signing that Holloway has made, he has signed quite a few players who other teams had no use for and have made a big contribution to Blackpool’s season, namely Brett Ormerod, D.J. Campbell and Stephen Dobbie. Add to this experience like former Charlton midfielder/striker Jason Euell and clever loan signings like Everton’s Seamus Coleman and a coup like Hameur Bouazza. Then you can clearly see how Ian Holloway has put together an efficient, hard-working side.

For his efforts Holloway deserves to be recognised as the Championship manager of he season and the big question will be if his side win on Saturday then can they cope in the Premiership? The most likely answer is no but there is a case to be made for Blackpool which is that in some aspects they are similar to Stoke when they were promoted. Both sides didn’t have many glamorous players and simply played to their strengths and Holloway has done the same thing with his Blackpool. There is no doubt that Middlesbrough, for instance have better players than Blackpool but Holloway’s side play better as a team and that is because he knows how to set them out and what his players’ abilities are.

Also like Stoke they have their own, but very different style of football, whereas Stoke play a negative, physical and long-ball game. Blackpool play an almost gun-ho 4-3-3 where they commit men forward at every opportunity and set out to win games right from the kick-off. If they kept the same style up in the Premiership then it’s possible that they could surprise a few teams with this approach and it could win them some games.

Undoubtedly should they clinch promotion Blackpool will need strengthening but Holloway has shown that he is capable of making some shrewd purchases and possibly with a bit of luck they could maybe just about stay-up. Whether or not Blackpool are victorious at Wembley, they have had a fantastic season and their fans can be proud of the effort that Ian Holloway and all of his players have put into the campaign.

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