Phillips twice the threat to Owls

Blackpool threat: Matt Phillips has scored two hat-tricks
Blackpool threat: Matt Phillips has scored two hat-tricks

WEDNESDAY could be facing a Phillips threat at Bloomfield Road.

There is Matt, who starred for Sheffield United on loan and made his first appearance for them as a sub in the Bramall Lane derby.

There is also Kevin, a scourge of the Owls in the past and still a capable striker though he is 38.

But Matt, a winger or forward who scored six goals in six games for the Blades, has been in the limelight recently. He won Blackpool’s Player of the Month award for December and has scored hat-tricks in the league against Barnsley and the FA Cup at Fleetwood.

He will be one of the reasons why Megson feels that Ian Holloway’s Blackpool can sustain another promotion challenge: “They’ll obviously have a priority of getting themselves back in the Premiership. Since Olly’s been there, they’ve done remarkably well,” he said.

“They got themselves promoted - it’s always difficult in your first season after that. They’ve come down to the Championship. I know they’ve lost Charlie Adam [to Liverpool] but they’ve brought in quite a few top-class players. It’s going to be difficult for us.

“Olly knows his football. He’s renowned for his sense of humour and some of the things he says but you wouldn’t get by on that in football management. He knows his stuff and he’s an experienced manager. He’s done well at Blackpool and he did well at QPR.”

Megson had a season in charge at Blackpool, 1996-97, in between jobs at Norwich and Stockport, and led them to 21 wins in 52 games.

“I class that as my first job,” says the Owls boss. “I enjoyed it. It was an experience. It was entirely different to how it is now. It’s a good club.

“When I was there you looked at how it was 40 years ago and they had they some worldclass players back then. It’s nice to see them doing well.”

In discounting his time at Norwich, which was actually his first managerial post, in 1995-96, he believes in hindsight that he was the wrong choice for the Canaries.

“I didn’t know my ---- from my elbow. They should never have given me that job, certainly not under those circumstances. I sat in on redundancy meetings, bank foreclosures and all that stuff,” he recalled.

“When I went to Blackpool, Mrs Oyston had just become chairman; she was brilliant. I really enjoyed my time there.

“My wife, Barbara ,was really ill and I needed to move back to Sheffield, so I went to Stockport, but the actual football ... we had some good players in Division One; it was a good side.”

The Seasiders were reluctant to lose him and won a court case against Stockport, claiming that they had poached him.

Holloway said: “A lot has changed since Gary was in charge here but a lot has changed in his life too.

“He’s got promoted a couple of times to the Premier League since then with the Baggies. He is just a very experienced manager, a very good manager. He was always going to be one because his dad was a good boss as well.

“I think there is an awful lot of water under the bridge, so he should get a very polite clap and not too much stick, I believe, unless they take the lead, then I’ll get the stick anyway!”

Holloway added: “I’ve written on the board 19 and 3. To me, we have to do as well as we can in the last 19 games and we should start getting focused now. We are three games away from Wembley, and a semi-final. That is the reality of it.

“We have a home tie against Sheffield Wednesday, who were terrific in the week. I had them watched.

“They’ve got a tough game on Tuesday at MK Dons so I don’t know what Gary is going to do. In the last round he made some changes but who knows this time?

“I will make the odd change to get over three games in a week. I will try and get that right. I can guarantee our fans we will be very upbeat.

“There is a bit of a belief coming in what we are doing, a bit of enjoyment in what we do.”