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P.J. Murray 2nd May 2012 - 21:08

Cardiff Vaz their work cut out

This is an intriguing tie as Cardiff are the perennial play-off chokers while West Ham upon their relegation were almost instantly expecting a return to the top flight.

While Cardiff have tried and failed to go up, former Watford manager Malky Mackay has developed a real steel to his side. While Sam Allardyce has had to put up with a torrent of abuse as his side didn't finish in the top two and automatically go up.

The Hammers won a club record 13 games away from home this season and do go into these play-offs with a favourites tag. But they will have to learn not to buy into the hype as in these one off games anything can happen. Just ask Ian Holloway.  In their two meetings in the Championship this season the away side was victorious.

Malky Mackay was part of the Watford team that beat Leeds 3-0 in the 2006 Championship play-off final, at the Millennium Stadium. Sam Allardyce is no stranger to the play-offs either, this will be his fourth attempt. He took Bolton up to the Prem this way.

West Ham (17/10) could learn some humility from another year in the Championship but they go into this game knowing that only once have they lost to Cardiff in Wales.

Cardiff (9/5) finished the season with a ten game unbeaten run and come into these play-offs with the best form.

West Ham won their final game of the season but it was in vein as Saints clinched 2nd. Cole struck twice in that match against Hull, can the England man score against Cardiff in a Hammers win? It's enhanced from 3/1 to 4/1.

Both sides will have a full squad coming into this game, no injuries or suspensions which should mean that they will go for it from the off. Playoffs, for the neutral fan, are great. Even though this is their first ever meeting in a play-off game I expect there to be goals.  Both teams to score is 4/5 and over 2.5 goals is 11/10.

Ricardo Vaz Te has been the catalyst for many a West Ham victory since his arrival, the Portuguese player has scored 10 in 15 appearances and should West Ham stand a chance of winning he will be needed. He is 6/1 to open the scoring and 7/4 anytime scorer.

Peter Whittingham has been an unsung hero for the Bluebirds and Englishman is 9/1 to score first and 10/3 anytime. He is no stranger to banging in goals and has already won an award from a screamer he scored in January against Barnsley.


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