Palace boss reveals Blackpool legend sent supportive letter

17:29 07 December 2012

Crystal Palace

Crystal Palace's new manager Ian Holloway. Photo credit: Dave Howarth/EMPICS

EMPICS Sport

Ian Holloway has revealed that Blackpool legend Jimmy Armfield penned a letter wishing him well after he left Blackpool to take charge of Crystal Palace.

The Bristolian swapped Bloomfield Road for Selhurst Park last month and tomorrow the Eagles play host to his former employers.

The 49-year-old says he will feel a great sense of pride for both clubs and their supporters when he takes his place in the dugout for the Championship clash.

“I have had a great letter from Jimmy Armfield wishing me well and he says he understands it was the right time for me to move on,” Holloway was quoted on the club’s Twitter page as saying of the man who spent his entire career playing for the north-west club, making over 500 appearances in a professional career that ran from 1954 to 1971.

He added: “Blackpool will always be a special place for me and Jimmy Armfield summed it up by saying we had some wonderful days in the sun up there.”

Holloway could name an almost unchanged side against his old club. Defender Darcy Blake could return to the squad after illness, but Joel Ward is suffering from a virus while skipper Paddy McCarthy and midfielder Jonathan Williams remain on the sidelines with groin injuries. Centre-half Danny Gabbidon has been on the bench for the last three matches but has yet to make his Eagles debut.

The Palace boss said: “I am so excited learning about my new team and know so much about the opposition so am really looking forward to Saturday’s game.”

Blackpool manager Michael Appleton faces a selection headache in attack. Veteran striker Kevin Phillips was among the substitutes at Peterborough last weekend and his replacement, Wes Thomas, marked a first start since joining on loan from Bournemouth with the opening goal. Fellow forward Gary Taylor-Fletcher is stepping up his recovery from a hamstring injury, but this weekend may come too soon. Winger Matt Phillips (toe) and defender Ian Evatt (knee) remain sidelined.

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