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Appleton Full Of Respect For Zola

Posted: Fri 23 Nov 2012
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Manager Praises Counterpart

Blackpool manager Michael Appleton says that Gianfranco Zola is a player he'd have 'paid to watch', as he prepares to take on a Watford side managed by the Italian.

The Seasiders' boss is looking forward to his second home game in charge tomorrow and is full of praise for his counterpart.

"It was hard not to be a fan of his," he admitted. "He was a fantastic footballer and the sort that you'd pay to watch, whether you were a Chelsea fan or not. As a manager he did really well for a long spell at West Ham and I think if he can bring half of his playing experience to management then he’ll do very well."

The Hornets are currently unbeaten in their last four games, winning three of them. Signs are starting to show that Zola's new-look squad is gelling, with a number of players having arrived on loan from Udinese in the summer. 


"They've almost got just as many players as what we have. What they've got is a lot of options in a lot of areas of the pitch and Zola has done great there. He took a bit of time to get it going - the first few games were probably a bit frustrating for him - but it does take time. Dare I say it, you probably won't see the best of Watford until probably after the New Year, and that is porbably going to be similar to my reign here at Blackpool.
 
"We're playing a decent side, they're on a good run at the minute and they've got a style of play that makes them very hard to beat. They counter really, really quickly and I've seen two or three of the videos where they've got a lot of players with a lot of pace."

The Seasiders will once again be without the injured Gary Taylor-Fletcher and Matt Phillips for the game, with the latter having had an operation on his toe earlier this week.

"I'm not sure in terms of timescales on Matty because you don't want to stitch yourself up," the manager said. "He's going to be out for a good few weeks yet and it obviously depends on what type of a healer he is. When you have an operation in a place like your toe, where the joint isn't actually that big and there's not a lot of blood flow to that area, it's difficult to know how quickly you'll recover. We're just keeping our fingers crossed that he recovers well and as quickly as he possibly can because he's a big, big player for this football club."

One player available to select is new loan striker Wes Thomas, who goes straight into the squad and will wear the number 39 shirt.