Blackpool and West Ham United will both be targeting the Premier League when they meet in the Championship Play-off Final on Saturday.
Both of these two teams were relegated from the top-flight last season, but only one of them can make an immediate return via Saturday’s showpiece clash at Wembley Stadium. The Hammers are Evens favourites to follow Reading and Southampton into the Premier League with a victory in 90 minutes, with a Blackpool victory and the draw both priced at 13/5.
West Ham’s failure to secure automatic promotion disappointed the Upton Park faithful, but that feeling will have been eased by the convincing way in which the Hammers saw off Cardiff City in the play-off semi-finals, 5-0 on aggregate (4/7 West Ham To Be Promoted). However, that disappointment will return tenfold if they leave Wembley Stadium as the losing team, and Blackpool have their sights set firmly on an upset.
It has been an incredible few years for the Seasiders that has seen them rise from League One to a place among English football’s elite. Ian Holloway’s men lasted only one season in the Premier League but, having had a taste of it, they will be desperate to take another shot at the best teams in the country. Blackpool overcame Birmingham City in the play-off semi-finals and it would be wrong to write them off against the Hammers (11/8 Blackpool To Be Promoted).
West Ham dominate the first goalscorer market with Ricardo Vaz Te the 5/1 favourite to net first, with team-mates Carlton Cole and John Carew 6/1 and 7/1 respectively. Influential midfielder Kevin Nolan can be backed at 15/2 to open the scoring. For Blackpool, veteran striker Kevin Phillips could play a key role and he is 15/2 to be the first goalscorer at Wembley Stadium, with team-mates Gary Taylor-Fletcher, Matt Phillips and Stephen Dobbie all 9/1.