Match Preview – Blackpool v Birmingham City Championship Play Off 1st Leg   Leave a comment


Blackpool v Birmingham City

Blackpool and Birmingham City come face to face in this Championship Play Off 1st leg tie to see who can gain the advantage going into the 2nd leg in 5 days time and so enhance their chances of an immediate return to the Premier league. Birmingham City hold the advantage on head to heads this season winning 1 with the other drawn but like we all know that stands for nothing in these sorts of games, it’s all about nerve and whom can handle the pressure best. Play off’s are renowned to favour the in form team but it’s hard to pick between the two teams who is the “inform” team with Blackpool unbeaten in their last 7 games and Birmingham unbeaten in their last 9. With only 1 point separating them after 46 league games we could be set for an interesting game with both sides always likely to score goals while at the same time vulnerable to concede so it could be a very entertaining game with both sides wanting the advantage for the return leg at St Andrews. Both Ian Holloway and Chris Hughton know what is required to get a team promoted from the Championship having both achieved that in recent years, so both should be able handle the pressure cooker of the Play Off’s where tactics could play a major part in who progresses to face either Cardiff or West Ham in the Play Off final at Wembley on 19th may and the bright lights of the Premier League .

Bloomfield Road

Blackpool manager Ian Holloway will have a near full strength squad to pick from with only former Manchester utd Centre Half Craig Cathcart miss after suffering a heart scare.Roman Bedner played 70 mins in the reserves on Tuesday and looks set to return to the squad for the game, Holloway will be looking to get some sort of advantage but knows how hard the game will be saying .

“There are a lot of big teams who aren’t in the play-offs but we will give it our best shot, we will try to win every single half of football we can,” he said.

“Now let’s go and take on a really good side in Birmingham. It will be interesting to see which way it goes.

Birmingham City Boss Chris Hughton finds himself in a similar position to Holloway in that he too can welcome back a few that have missed recent games through injury they include Stephen Carr, Jonathan Spector, so Hughton will be able to field a full strength team for the first time in recent weeks. The rested players from the recent win over Championship winners will also be back in contention for a return to the starting line-up for a game that will be the Blues 61st this season.

Keeper Colin Doyle commented

“I think there has to be an advantage, that’s why they do it like that,” he said. “We beat Blackpool 3-0 here (at St. Andrew’s) and drew away when Ziggy scored in the last minute. It’s going to be tough but the lads have got to go in it with no fear and relish it. We’ve played 60 games now which is a lot of games but it’s not really affected us. Hopefully we’ll have three more games.”

Head to Head stats @ Blackpool

Blackpool Won 26 … Birmingham Won 8 … Drawn 10

Possible Teams :

Blackpool : Gilks, Crainey, Eardley, Evatt, Baptiste, Ferguson, Phillips M, Angle, Dobbie, Ince, Taylor Fletcher

Birmingham City : Doyle, Murphy, Ibanez, Davies, Ramage, Fahey, Burke, Ndaw, Mutch, Elliott, King

Referee : Mark Halsey

Prediction : Blackpool 2 … Birmingham City 2

By Blues Brother (Member of  birminghamcityforum.co.uk )

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