Redknapp salutes Blackpool boss Holloway
Harry Redknapp, the Tottenham Hotspur manager, believes Ian Holloway, his Blackpool counterpart, must be considered a strong contender for the manager of the year award at the end of the season.
Redknapp will also be in the running for that particular accolade as Tottenham have not only qualified for the UEFA Champions League for the first time but won their group, earning a last 16 tie with AC Milan in the process. But the veteran was convinced Holloway's achievements at Blackpool should not be underestimated on the eve of the two sides' Premier League meeting at Bloomfield Road tomorrow.
"He has done an incredible job," he said. "For me, he and Roberto di Matteo of West Bromwich Albion are the two candidates for manager of the year and one will certainly get my vote. What 'Olly' has done at Blackpool has been a miracle. He is full of enthusiasm and a character. And let's be honest, no-one gave them a chance of surviving. Everybody said they would be lucky to get 20 points.
"But they went to Liverpool and got a win and they have just beaten Stoke. And they have a go, they attack, they get after teams. They have been absolutely brilliant and so has 'Olly'."
Tottenham are another team that places an emphasis on attack and having beaten Arsenal, Liverpool and shared a 1-1 draw with champions Chelsea last weekend they are handily placed to put pressure on the four clubs above them.
Redknapp believed it was indeed possible that his side could overtake all four by the end of the season. "It's wide open," he said. "We have got a chance. There was nothing between us and Chelsea last week. That was their best team apart from Frank Lampard, and the teams were evenly matched. We have been to Arsenal and won. I'm not saying we are going to win it but it's not impossible."
For his part, Holloway was keen to sing the praises of Redknapp, who is set to keep faith with Roman Pavlyuchenko, the Russia forward, at the expense of either Jermain Defoe or Peter Crouch.
"I take my hat off to Harry," he said. "How do you keep Defoe and Crouch smiling on the bench? Tottenham are moulding into a great club again and I want to take them on to see how far we have come."
Tottenham have a potential player of the season in Gareth Bale but Holloway was keen to see the defensive side of the Wales midfielder's game tested. "I'm not scared of Bale," he said. "But I'd like to see what he is like defending Neil Eardley."
Blackpool's home game with Manchester United fell foul of the weather earlier in the season and there is a chance this game could also have to be postponed.
"Hopefully the game will go ahead," Holloway added. "I've walked across the covers on the pitch but if the temperatures get as low as they are saying they will, a lot of games will be off. We are doing what we can. We want the game on. Otherwise we'll have a lot of games in hand and in a false position. You don't want that in this league."