FERGIE’S PLAY­ING FOR THE DUGOUT

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Dave Good­er­ham To com­ment on this match go to http://boards.footy­mad.net/

HE MIGHT have stopped short of con­firm­ing the ‘R’ word, but Barry Fer­gu­son would be a happy man if he never kicks a ball in anger again.

His work­ing ti­tle is cur­rently in­terim player-man­ager but Fer­gu­son is do­ing all he can to take away the ‘player’ part and con­cen­trate full-time on mas­ter­mind­ing an up­turn in for­tunes at Black­pool.

The cur­rent in­cum­bent for the Seasiders was left a con­tented man af­ter watch­ing his side claim a draw at play-off chas­ing Ip­swich Town at Port­man Road.

And while it was of­ten mun­dane, it was Black­pool who carved out the bet­ter chances, even if their win­less run now stretches to 15 matches.

The 36-year-old Fer­gu­son firmly be­lieves that win is around the cor­ner, de­scrib­ing con­sec­u­tive draws at pro­mo­tion-chas­ing Not­ting­ham For­est and Ip­swich as “four points dropped”.

Af­ter claim­ing three draws in his open­ing five games, Fer­gu­son con­firmed: “If I get the job, I re­ally don’t think I will be play­ing.

“People have done both jobs (player-man­ager) but I don’t think I can do it. I made the de­ci­sion not to play and stay on the side­lines, and the squad is be­com­ing strong enough to cope.

“I am putting a new sys­tem in place and I want my team to be at­tack-minded. The com­mit­ment and ef­fort has been there from the start but in the games against For­est and Ip­swich, we have also shown qual­ity and be­lief.”

Save for the open­ing ten min­utes, it was the Seasiders who looked most likely to claim all three points with new sign­ing Faris Haroun em­broiled in a per­sonal bat­tle with Town keeper Scott Loach.

It was the stopper who came out on top with three smart saves – hav­ing only been told he was play­ing two hours be­fore the match when Dean Gerken woke up with a stiff neck.

Be­fore Loach’s star­ring role, in keep­ing with a match where de­fences dom­i­nated, Ip­swich could have been two up af­ter just ten min­utes.

Top scorer David McGoldrick, who wor­ry­ingly left the field at full-time clutch­ing his knee, went ag­o­nis­ingly close with a header af­ter striker part­ner Daryl Mur­phy had tested Matt Gilks from a tight an­gle.

Then it be­came the Haroun v Loach show with the mid­fielder de­nied by a smart down save when through on goal, Luke Cham­bers just beat­ing Andy Keogh to the re­bound.

Loach then got the bet­ter of Haroun prior to half-time and again near the end with lit­tle in the way of goal­mouth ac­tion in be­tween.

Fer­gu­son had sym­pa­thy for Haroun, who signed on a free trans­fer last month fol­low­ing his re­lease from di­vi­sional ri­vals Middlesbrough.

The Black­pool man­ager said: “Faris has only played three games all sea­son so he is lack­ing a cut­ting edge and sharp­ness – but he knows that him­self.”

Town boss Mick McCarthy cut a frus­trated fig­ure in his post-match sum­ming-up with in­jury con­cerns over McGoldrick and mid­fielder Luke Hyam adding to his woes.

He said: “We started re­ally well, had the best chances but didn’t take them. The game then de­vel­oped into a scrap but the con­di­tions were not great.

“We could have won it, but we could have lost it. We prob­a­bly shaded it, but we didn’t play well enough to win the game.

“I knew Barns­ley (last week) and Black­pool would be just as tough as Read­ing and QPR.

“They are fight­ing for their lives and Black­pool have been on a bad run. But they are fight­ing for Barry Fer­gu­son and they are no mugs.”

PIC­TURES: Ac­tion Im­ages

GREEN’S DAY: Ip­swich’s Paul Green nar­rowly avoids a fierce tackle from Black­pool’s Gary MacKen­zie

HUNT­ING DOWN: Ip­swich’s Stephen Hunt puts in a tackle

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