HOLLOWAY CREDITS MELLON CHAT
Ian Holloway has paid tribute to the role of Fleetwood manager Micky Mellon in Blackpool's play-off charge.
The Seasiders' near neighbours will play in the Football League for the first time in their history next season after storming to the Blue Square Bet Premier title.
Holloway's Blackpool can give the Fylde coast a second promotion in as many months when they face West Ham in the npower Championship play-off final.
In the early months of the season, the prospect of an immediate return to the Barclays Premier League appeared unlikely as the Seasiders struggled to come to terms with the loss of key players such as DJ Campbell and Charlie Adam.
A chastening 3-1 reverse against Lancashire rivals Burnley in October left Holloway facing a season of mid-table struggle and he sought solace in Mellon, a former Blackpool midfielder in his playing days.
"I'd like to say we've earned it," said the 49-year-old. "We lost to Burnley away and I was pretty down, then had a phone call with Micky Mellon.
"Two days later we played Leeds away and we won 5-0. If I hadn't have had that conversation with him I'd still have been down in the dumps.
"I've never, ever wanted to feel sorry for myself, but I did then. Good gracious me, how far we've gone.
"The players, their reaction to what you commit to is vital and I came back in that following day talking about how we were going to pass it.
"We had nearly 700 passes in that game, which was phenomenal. I know they had a man short but it was brilliant."
Either side of their romp past a beleaguered 10 men at Elland Road, Blackpool shipped eight goals across two defeats to West Ham, who finished 11 points above them in the final table.
Kevin Phillips produced the Tangerines' solitary response in February's 4-1 reverse at Bloomfield Road, and the veteran 17-goal frontman pays little heed to those results in his quest for a top-flight swansong.
"I don't think it counts for anything to be honest," he said. "We're certainly a different proposition to what we were in those games.
"You hear a lot of the media and the supporters saying maybe all they've got to do is turn up to win the game because they're clear favourites and that suits us.
"You'd maybe like to think that will filter down to the players a little bit and put them off their stride.
"Being professionals, once that whistle goes, that goes out of the window.
"I think history shows in play-off games it's who performs on the day, who doesn't freeze and who doesn't bottle it that generally wins it."
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