Charlie Adam centre of attention as Blackpool make a point at Spurs

• Blackpool midfielder spurred on by TV criticism
• But his tackle could end Gareth Bale's season

Alan Shearer is frequently accused of being a pundit of no importance but a comment that he made on Match of the Day may help to inspire Blackpool's survival effort.

The former Newcastle United striker suggested on television recently that Charlie Adam's slump in form could be down to the fact that the Scot knows he missed the best opportunity that he will ever get to advance his career when Blackpool rejected January transfer bids from Liverpool, Aston Villa and Tottenham Hotspur.

Blackpool's manager, Ian Holloway, said Adam's anger at that claim has fuelled an upswing in his performances. At White Hart Lane, Adam displayed the class that led to him being shortlisted for the PFA player of the year award. With Adam resurgent Blackpool look capable of climbing out of the relegation zone.

"I think Alan Shearer upset him because he was worrying about what he said about 'I hope his time hasn't passed him by'," said Holloway. "He's a terrific lad, he's 24 and he's only getting better and he was voted one of the best seven players in this division, so why is his time passing him by? But when you're in the limelight you have to deal with what people say about you. If you're bad no one cares about you."

Adam's passing repertoire is the primary reason his peers ranked him among this season's best performers and he showcased his range well against Tottenham, enabling Blackpool to spring forward on rapid counterattack whenever they won the ball back off the hosts, who enjoyed the majority of possession. The purity with which he strikes was perhaps best exemplified in the 24th minute, when he met a high, spinning ball with an exquisite volley from 16 yards, forcing a splendid reflex stop from the goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes.

Adam, who actually turned 25 in December, also made a sweet connection with the ball when taking the 75th-minute penalty that his team were awarded when Michael Dawson handled in the box but again Gomes pulled off a superb save. The error-prone Brazilian then gave Adam a chance to make amends by conceding another spot-kick within less than a minute, foolishly barging over Gary Taylor-Fletcher. Adam scored emphatically.

But Adam's impact was not all positive. On the hour mark he was the perpetrator of an ugly foul that left Gareth Bale with a serious ankle injury. The Welshman was carried off the pitch on a stretcher and will undergo a scan today to gauge the gravity of the damage. His season looks to be over, as do Spurs' chances of qualifying for the Champions League.

It should not surprise that a player of Adam's ability is returning to the fore after a spell of below-par performance; less expected, perhaps, is the defensive solidity that Blackpool have demonstrated as the season reaches its climax. Although Jermain Defoe slammed the ball into the net from 20 yards in the last minute to prevent Holloway's team from leaving White Hart Lane with maximum points, Blackpool were a lot more secure at the back, with Alex Baptiste and Ian Evatt both excelling. A team that had been leaking goals at a rate of two a game have now conceded only two in the last three.

Holloway feels his team are benefiting from a sort of second wind, and that may propel them to safety. "I just talked to them over the last few weeks and reminded them how good they are and how proud I am of them," the manager said. "I'm so pleased that we're looking like a good side again. I would have hated our season just to peter out with us looking useless because we're not."

Blackpool's last two matches are at home to Bolton next weekend and then a daunting trip to Old Trafford. "If he keeps Blackpool up and doesn't get manager of the season, it'll be a criminal," said Harry Redknapp. "He should be the manager of the century."

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