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Blackpool v West Ham United Tips – Hat-trick for the Hammers?

Allardyce's Hammers have already beaten Blackpool twice (credit: Ben Hoskins/Getty Images)
West Ham United did the double over Blackpool during the season, but will they make it a hat-trick in Saturday’s Championship Play-off Final at Wembley?

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On the evidence of their two regular season meetings, Blackpool and West Ham's promotion fight is a mismatch, Sam Allardyce's men thrashing the Seasiders 4-0 in October and 4-1 with ten men and Henri Lansbury in goal at Bloomfield Road in February.

The Tangerines will hope that tangling at Wembley, where they triumphed over Cardiff two years ago, and a nine-game unbeaten run entering the fixture, the longest of any Championship club, will ensure a drastically different outcome this time.

But is it realistic to expect the stronger performing team - not just in terms of head-to-head record but overall showing having finished 11 points better off - to buckle under the pressure of a match carrying such huge ramifications?

Past second-tier play-off finals suggest not. On six of the seven occasions over the last 14 campaigns that a side have arrived at Wembley (or the Millennium Stadium) to face a rival that they conquered twice in the league, they have completed a hat-trick and darted off to the Premier League.

The only team to have bucked the trend in that period were oddly enough West Ham, who lost 2-1 to Preston twice in the 2004/05 season before finding another gear with promotion at stake and prevailing 1-0 in Cardiff.

Further encouragement is offered to the Irons by the fact that Allardyce has progressed from this position in the past, his Bolton side defeating Preston 3-0 in Wales in 2000/01 following two 2-0 league victories.

This isn't the first instance of a club heading into the final with an 8-1 margin of regular-season superiority over their opponents either, as Ipswich dismissed Barnsley with the same swagger in 1999/00 then were 4-2 winners in the third encounter.

It all appears to indicate that West Ham are great value at 2.04 to deliver in 90 minutes, a theory reinforced by the sixth-versus-third semi-final victors having gone up in seven of the last eight years.

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Blackpool v West Ham United Tips – Hat-trick for the Hammers?

West Ham United did the double over Blackpool during the season, but will they make it a hat-trick in Saturday’s Championship Play-off Final at Wembley?

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