Ian Holloway claims his Blackpool side are ahead of schedule in their bid to secure a Premier League return after Stephen Dobbie's double helped them beat npower Championship leaders Southampton 3-0.
The Tangerines are in the play-off places heading into the final six games having been relegated a year ago, and this win will have done their confidence no harm. The Saints missed an early penalty through Billy Sharp, but after that it was all Blackpool, with Dobbie scoring from the spot and grabbing a second before Ian Evatt wrapped things up.
Blackpool are now fifth on 63 points, ahead of Brighton and Middlesbrough on goal difference, and Holloway is optimistic about their chances.
"I am very proud. All of our players deserve the credit to a man," he said.
"Already we are better on points than we were at the same stage when we got promoted last time. Everyone has done what I asked of them and it was a very positive performance from us.
We have just beaten the best team in the league so I am very pleased because Southampton are used to dominating the game. The penalty save was probably the most important save Matthew Gilks has ever made and when that happened I always had a feeling it was going to be our day.
Southampton remain six points clear of West Ham after the Hammers were beaten by Reading, but the Royals are now just two points off top spot. The defeat was just Southampton's second loss in 13 Championship games and manager Nigel Adkins is refusing to panic.
"We will analyse this in the cold light of day," he said. "Guly Do Prado missed a good chance early on and then the penalty we were presented with has been saved. Blackpool closed us down very well throughout and never gave us much time on the ball to play our game. We never really penetrated and that is partly down to how well Blackpool have defended. We have a bunch of honest, hard-working professionals at this club and the supporters recognise that and they never stopped singing today.
"We have been in the top two in the league for virtually the whole campaign and so we will just put this game to bed and move on. Blackpool deserve a lot of credit for their performance and sometimes you just have to accept that."