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Antony Heath 8th May 2012 - 20:46

Brum to be singing The Blues

Birmingham v Blackpool - Wednesday 19:45 - live on Sky Sports 1

The final leg of the Championship semi-finals takes place at St Andrews, for the winners a Wembley date with West Ham and a chance of a return to the Premier League while another season of Championship football is the destiny of the losers.

Blackpool are marginal favourites to West Ham's opponents at 8/13 following a 1-0 victory at Bloomfield Road. Ian Holloway would have wanted a more comfortable margin from the home leg yet for all his sides quality attacking play they only managed to have the ball in net once more and that was promptly ruled out for offside. Birmingham (6/5 to qualify) offered very little going forward and must have breathed a huge collective sigh of relief to escape just 1-0 behind and give themselves a real chance in front of the home faithful.

On the night Birmingham are favourites to grab glory at the end of full time being a touch odds-on at 10/11 and with their solid home form of the course of this season it's easy to see why. They won the league fixture here 3-0 (14/1 for a repeat) and have lost just once at St Andrews - a surprise loss to Nottingham Forest in February. They will have to put in a marked improvement on what they offered away but Chris Hughton will have fired his troops up over the weekend.

The strike duo of Nikola Zigic (6/1 First/Last, 7/4 Anytime) and Nikola Zigic (6/1 First/Last, 7/4 Anytime) are both accomplished goal scorers but they need some level of support from the midfield to help generate some chances. Wade Elliot will be one of the players charged with pushing forward and is a very tempting 7/2 to find the net himself while 10/1 that it's the first/last. Birmingham will have to push forward and they should get a few.

Blackpool (3/1, Draw 12/5) extended their incredible run in the playoffs as they have now won their last 10 playoff fixtures - a run which stretches back  to May 2001. They come here with the aggregate lead but don't expect them to attempt to defend it as that's just not their style. Blackpool will go to St Andrews and play their football and make Birmingham chase the ball with the Blues having to push forward to score they should have gaps to take advantage of so both teams to score looks a banker at 8/11.

The Seasiders have plenty of attacking talent and there is plenty of options for goal scorers, Stephen Dobbie (7/1 First/Last, 2/1 Anytime) and the ever young Kevin Phillips (7/1 First/Last, 2/1 Anytime) will be the main threats. Phillips only being denied by the linesman's flag in the first leg and he is a perfect shout as last goal scorer. There is quality through the side and I wouldn't be surprised to see Barry Ferguson to score on his old stomping ground - he is 16/1 First/Last and 6/1 anytime.

The would appear to be plenty of goals in this, on paper at least, and over 2.5 at 10/11 looks great value and don't miss our match winner offer of over 5 goals to be scored (inside 90 minutes) at 7/1 - enhanced from 6/1 so take advantage and watch the goals flow in. I fully expect Blackpool to qualify to challenge West Ham but don't think they will win on the night therefore on the correct scores front I think a high scoring draw would be the picks so have a small flutter on 2-2 at 16/1 and 3-3 at 66/1.

Top Bets

Blackpool to qualify @ 8/13

Both teams to score @ 10/11

Worth a punt

Kevin Phillips last goal @ 7/1

Barry Ferguson anytime @ 6/1

 
 
 

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