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Nic Ladds 7th May 2010 - 12:55

Forest do not like to be beside the seaside.

Nottingham Forest travel to what has been a bogey ground for them this season to take on Blackpool. The prize for the winner over two legs is the chance to play in the richest match in club football.

Blackpool are the only side to do the double over Billy Davies' men this season, winning 3-1 and 0-1, to extend their unbeaten run over Forest as a whole to eight matches.

Despite Forest's finish of third in the league, their away form dipped dramatically at the end of the season, not winning in their final 10 matches away from home. That is why I think Blackpool are a good price at 6/5 to get an advantage in this first leg.

This match is pretty hard to predict though, the atmosphere will be like a cup final and with the prospect over almost £100m available to the winner of the play-offs; every player will be fighting for their futures.

As it is unlike any other game of the season, the 15/8 on Forest is certainly tempting. I just feel their away record in the league of 4 wins, 11 draws and 8 losses means their strong season has a lot to do with their home form and they should really look at the second leg to grab a hold of this tie.

Team news does not really help Ian Holloway in his preparation for this match. Key striker DJ Campbell is a 'major doubt', Stephen McPhee is also missing up front, Danny Coid is missing from the back and Hameur Bouazza is still missing from the wing.

They will surely be relying on Charlie Adam for goals; the midfielder has 17 goals this season and has been in scintillating form. If he plays well, Blackpool usually win, he is 13/2 to score first and 15/8 to score at any time. He scored in both matches in the league double over Forest this season too.

Nottm Forest hope Captain Paul McKenna will be fit enough to return after being out since March. One advantage for Forest is how strong their squad is at the moment.

After resting players in their final match of the season, Lee Camp should return in goal, Chris Gunter returns at the back, Chris Cohen and new permanent signing Radoslaw Majewski are back in the middle.

Dexter Blackstock (7/1 first goal) and Robbie Earnshaw (11/2 first goal) who have 14 and 15 goals respectively this season, should start up front.

When betting, I would be wary of the draw as five of the last eight meetings at Bloomfield Road have ended in a draw (21/10).

Blackpool do rely on late goals, they scored 48 in the second half this season, more than any other club. In the 2nd half betting market, the Seasiders look like a good price at 9/5.

I personally think Forest have the better squad and do look a decent bet on paper, but their away record has been pretty dismal all season and although I know anything can happen in a play-off semi-final first leg, I think the home advantage will the crucial to the outcome.

2-1 to the home side looks a decent price at 8/1 as Forest do possess a scoring threat. If you fancy The Reds to get a result, the 23/20 looks like the bet on them draw no bet.

Don't forget, this match is part of another of William Hill's fantastic Free Bets For Everyone offer. Bet £20 on the 90 minute result and get a £10 bet on ANY In-Play market on Sunday's Chelsea v Wigan match.



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