Cardiff City v West Ham : Mackay eyes Championship playoff advantage over Allardyce

Cardiff City and West Ham United go head to head on Thursday evening in the play-off semi-final first leg at the Cardiff City Stadium,with Malkay Mackay’s men looking to take a first leg lead to Upton Park.

The Bluebirds cemented their place in the top six on the final day of the season with an impressive 2-1 victory away to Crystal Palace.

Malkay Mackay’s men finished 13 points adrift of second place and will look at a poor spell in the middle of the season of just two wins in ten games as the reason they didn’t challenge for the automatic places.

However, Mackay’s side did finish the season strongly and they go into this two legged tie unbeaten in their last ten encounters.

This is now the third year in succession that the Welsh side have found themselves in the drama of the play-offs.

It will be something that Cardiff will look to make an advantage with many players being involved in the disappointment in the past. They will not want to go through the same thing again.

As for West Ham, they missed out on a spot in the top two on the final day of the campaign. Despite a 2-1 victory over Hull, Sam Allardyce’s men had to rely on Southampton losing at home to Coventry, a game the Saints went on to win 4-0.

The Hammers are now unbeaten in six games and go into the play-offs as the favourites to make a return to the Premier League at the first time of asking.

Allardyce’s side have come under some scrutiny this season with many saying that the squad he had at his disposable should have walked the title.

That said, the Championship is one of the most challenging leagues in the world and if they do manage to make it back to the top flight, it would be a fantastic achievement.

The London side will be looking towards their big name players to step up to the plate on this massive occasion.

Be sure not to miss the first leg of this fascinating tie. It all gets underway from 7.45pm on Thursday.

Tommy graduated from Sheffield University in 2009 with a Journalism degree and has worked in various professional industry posts including the football print media.