Date:Friday May 7 2010
After a tough 46 game season Nottingham Forest enter this end of season tournament hoping to make it back to the promised land after an 11 year absence. The play offs haven't been kind to Forest over the years but after ending their season in their highest league position since relegation from the Premiership they will be full of confidence. This two legged tie offers Forest their first chance to play at the new Wembley and their first appearance there since losing the 1992 League Cup Final to Manchester United. Blackpool though have tasted success at Wembley recently with their League One play off win over Yeovil 3 seasons ago.
Blackpool have no fresh injurys problems
The Blackpool midfielder has been the catalyst for everything good about them this season and his 16 goals along with 8 assists from 43 games have propelled them into the top 6
Much has been made of the Paul McKenna situation as to whether he'll be fit for these games & Ned Kelly in his post match interview after the Scunthorpe game tried to give as little as possible away, only willing to say Julian Bennett was certainly not fit. I still expect to see McKenna make an appearance in the play offs, i now suspect we may see Bennett as well. After Billy Davies rotation policy over the last few weeks the rest of the squad seems to be fresh & fully fit but Chris Cohen may miss out with mumps
The Forest front man may well find himself leading the line on his own again for this 1st leg and we'll need him at his best if we are to take a positive result from this game. His 14 goals and 6 assists from 38 games this season have been the bedrock of Forest's success.
Although Forest have had a very poor run away from home and have failed to win any away fixture since January they do still hold the best away defence of any of the play off teams having conceded just 27 times away from the City Ground while Blackpool have the worst home defence of the play off teams having conceded 22 at Bloomfield Road. In stark contrast to this though, Forest have the worst away attack in the play offs having scored just 20 times on the road while Blackpool have the best home attack of the 4 teams involved with 46 home goals.
Only bottom club Peterborough have won fewer away games than Forest this season.
There have been 74 league meeting between these two clubs in the standard league season with Forest having a slight edge with 28 wins compared to the 24 league wins for Blackpool including the two victories for the seasiders this season leaving the clubs to have drawn a further 22 games. Forest also hold the lead on goals having scored 105 of the 197 goals this fixture has produced.
Blackpool are the only club to have done the double over Forest this season winning by an aggregate of 4 goals to 1.
Blackpool have won every game in which Dudley Campbell has scored since he arrived on loan.
Phil Dowd of Staffordshire will take charge of this game
He will be assisted by Stuart Burt of Northampton & Scott Ledger of South Yorkshire
Fourth official for the day will be Chris Foy of Scouse land
If this game were to follow the form book it would end as a 2 - 1 home win, of course the form book goes out of the window for games like this & the intangible factors come into play, Forest will be the fresher of the two teams while Blackpool have the form on their side, no score would surprise me here, but I'm going for a 0 - 1 away win for the reds, purely because it seems the most unlikely of all result.
Tuesday, 11 May 19:45
The Championship Play Off Semi-Final 2nd Leg
Nottm Forest v Blackpool
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Date:Friday May 7 2010
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