Blackpool - West Ham Preview: Both sides bidding for instant return to the Premier League
Sam Allardyce and Ian Holloway are both just 90 minutes away from sealing top flight football for their respective sides at the first time of asking as the Wembley showpiece looms
By James McManus
Baptiste, Evatt, Eardley, Crainey
M.Phillips, Ferguson, Angel, Ince
Demel, Tomkins, Reid, Taylor
O'Neill, Noble, Nolan, Collison
Blackpool go into the clash with a clean bill of health and Ian Holloway has a full 24-man squad from which to choose from, as the club look to secure a second season in the top flight.
West Ham also emerged from the play-off games against Cardiff relatively unscathed and Sam Allardyce should also have a full squad to choose from for the club's trip to Wembley.
Midfielder Jack Collison (pictured below) was carried off in the second-leg against Cardiff at home with a suspected dislocated shoulder, but he has been passed fit to play in the end of season showpiece.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- West Ham finished 11 points and two places higher in the league table than Blackpool.
- Sam Allardyce's side won both league games this year against their final opponents, 4-0 at home and 4-1 away.
- The Hammers have won three and drawn one of their past four meetings between the two.
- West Ham will become the 16th club to make an immediate return to the top flight if they emerge victorious on the day.
- The Hammers finished the Championship season with the best away record in the entire league, having picked up 45 of their 86 points on their travels.
- Blackpool are currently on a nine-match unbeaten run.
- Four of the last seven play-off finals have ended with a scoreline of 1-0. The Seasiders are 11/1 to win the game 1-0 with Paddy Power.
- Blackpool have kept six clean sheets in their last nine outings.
- But expect goals in this game, though, with both sides having racked up a combined total of 160 over the course of the campaign.
- If Blackpool get promoted, they will be the first side since Leicester in 1996 to make an immediate return to the Premier League via the play-offs.
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Top 3 Predictions
Blackpool 1-2 West Ham
- 15.63 %
Blackpool 1-3 West Ham
- 10.94 %
Blackpool 2-1 West Ham
- 10.94 %
|Playoff Championship (EN2P)||19 May 2012||Blackpool 1 - West Ham 2|
|England - Championship (ENG2)||15 Oct 2011||West Ham 4 - Blackpool 0|
|Premier League (EPL)||2 Feb 2011||Blackpool 1 - West Ham 3|
|Premier League (EPL)||13 Nov 2010||West Ham 0 - Blackpool 0|
|4 May 2013||Bolton Wanderers 2 - Blackpool 2||ENG2|
|27 Apr 2013||Blackpool 2 - Derby County 1||ENG2|
|20 Apr 2013||Brighton & Hove Albion 6 - Blackpool 1||ENG2|
|16 Apr 2013||Blackpool 0 - Sheffield Wednesday 0||ENG2|
|13 Apr 2013||Blackpool 1 - Burnley 0||ENG2|
|12||Ricardo Vaz Te||Striker|
Blackpool, at their best, are a fluid, counter-attacking marvel and the former England captain's son is at the heart of that. Left-footed, pacy and direct, Ince is capable of stretching teams on the break, while also forcing them to defend deeper than they may usually like as they attempt to counter his blistering acceleration.
The 29 year-old midfielder has proven an astute purchase by Sam Allardyce and his goals from deep provide a constant threat. His composure, aerial ability and leadership skills also stand out as he bids to win promotion to the promised land of the Premier League for the second time in three seasons.
Ian Holloway deserves great credit for restructuring Blackpool and adding a new dimension to their play in such a short space of time. However, with the resources at Sam Allardyce's disposal, and with the side in a decent run of form, this game could be decided as much by the strength of each side's bench than just the starting eleven.