Saturday 19th May 2012, Wembley Stadium, 15:00 GMT
Blackpool v West Ham
West Ham @1.95
West Ham midfielder Jack Collison looks set to return from injury after sustaining a dislocated shoulder in the semi-final second leg against Cardiff, leaving manager Sam Allardyce with almost a fully fit squad to choose from.
Opponents Blackpool can similarly name a virtually full strength squad, although defender Craig Cathcart looks likely to miss out after being diagnosed with a heart condition.
- Finished 5th in the Football League Championship with 75 points, 11 points behind West Ham who finished 3rd in the league.
- Only goal difference separated 5th placed Blackpool with 6th placed Cardiff City.
- Blackpool finished the season with the third best attack in the division, two goals short of West Ham and six goals shy of runners up Southampton.
- Finished the league with the worst defensive record in the top half of the table, with 59 goals conceded.
- Kevin Phillips is Blackpool’s top goalscorer this season with 17 goals, 11 of which were scored at Bloomfield Road.
- Going into the Play Off final, Blackpool are unbeaten in nine games, winning five.
- Blackpool have only failed to score once in the last 24 games in the league.
- Finished 3rd in the Football League Championship with 86 points, three points behind winners Reading and two points shy of Southampton.
- The Hammers have the best away record in the division with 14 wins, six draws and four defeats and a goal difference of +20.
- West Ham boast the best defensive record away from home.
- West Ham won just over half of their 23 games at Upton Park, drawing eight matches.
- The Hammers have failed to score just once in the last 27 matches.
- Prior to the play-offs, West Ham finished the season with the second best attack in the division with 81 goals scored in 46 games.
- Ricardo Vaz Te is West Ham’s top goalscorer this season with 21 league goals.
- West Ham have won five of the last six games in the league.
- The Hammers have scored 31 goals in the last 11 games.
After relegation from the Premier League last season, both West Ham and Blackpool are hoping for an immediate return to the top flight.
West Ham are strong favourites going into Saturday’s final and have already enjoyed a double over opponents Blackpool this season recording a 4-1 victory at Bloomfield Road before a 4-0 victory at The Boleyn Ground back in October.
Blackpool have an incredible record in the play-offs recently and are the only club in history to rise from the fourth division to the top tier entirely through the play-offs. West Ham however have won five of the last six games and the Hammers have ominously been full of goals recently, which must be a real concern to Ian Holloway’s back line.
With the likes of Nolan, Collison, Vaz Te, Tomkins and goalkeeper Rob Green, West Ham should come out on top in a final that looks full of goals.
Best Bet: West Ham to Lift the Trophy @1.57
Value Bet: Both Teams to Score @1.72
Long Shot: Blackpool to Win AND Over 2.5 goals @6.00