Blackpool v Birmingham : Championship playoffs as Holloway looking for Premiership return

Two sides relegated from the Premier League last season go against each other for a chance to bounce back to the top flight at the first time of asking when Blackpool, who are odds against with Ladbrokes, who have announced a free bet offer on the game, meet Birmingham in the first leg of their play-off semi final tie on Friday.

Blackpool finished in fifth position in the league, so the first leg will be played at Bloomfield Road. This is something that the home side will feel confident about considering it was how they won their semi-final tie against Nottingham Forest two years ago.

After relegation last year, many people had tipped the Seasiders to struggle this time out, however the self belief and confidence that Ian Holloway has installed in his side has seen them reach the top six yet again.

Holloway’s men go into the game in a great run of form, unbeaten in their last seven matches and they have also lost just three times on home soil this season.

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As for Birmingham, great credit has to go to Chris Hughton and his side who have taken part in an extremely long campaign which began back in July competing in the Europa League.

The Blues always had games in hand over teams above them, but winning those matches is extremely difficult.

With nine games without defeat, Hughton’s men will be in high spirits going into this encounter. They have also lost just two of their previous twelve matches away from home.

These extra two games could prove to be a massive task for the Midlands side that have already played a massive 59 matches this season. However the incentive of Premier League football come August should be enough for the players to make one final push.

Birmingham had the better of this fixture this season, taking four points and scoring five goals against Blackpool.

With both sides looking to play attacking football and being in a good run of form, it should be a fantastic two leg encounter.

The first game gets underway at 7.45pm on Friday evening.

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