Blackpool v West Ham: Championship play-off final preview

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Football News

Blackpool v West Ham; Wembley; Championship Play-off final; Saturday 19 May 2012, 15:00 KO

Team News

Sam Allardyce has been handed a timely boost with the news that Jack Collison has recovered from the dislocated shoulder that forced him off during the semi-final second leg against Cardiff City.

The Hammers go into Saturday's final with a full strength squad, and are likely to name an unchanged side from the one that started both home and away legs of the previous round.

Meanwhile, Blackpool also have no new injury concerns so Ian Holloway too could name the same team that beat Birmingham over two legs in the semi-final, with Matt Phillips, Thomas Ince and Scott Dobbie the biggest attacking threats for the Seasiders.

Allardyce holds no Blackpool grudge

West Ham manager Sam Allardyce insists he doesn't have any ill feeling towards Saturday's Championship play-off final opponents Blackpool - the club he was sacked by after failing to gain promotion to Division One in 1996.

Sixteen years on, and the former Bolton, Newcastle and Blackburn boss comes face-to-face with his former employers, as he tries to fulfill his promise of leading the Hammers back to the Premier League at the first attempt with victory at Wembley this weekend.

Allardyce says that he is fully focused on the job at hand, and that he holds no grudges about anything that happened before.

"It's long gone, water under the bridge," he explained in his pre-match press conference. "At the time it was devastating because I thought I might have been lost to football, I thought I might not get back into the game.

"Luckily that wasn't the case but the experience I gained as a manager has stood me in good stead to go on and do better things, so I have no axe to grind with Blackpool."

The 57-year-old is fully aware of the importance of the game for everybody involved at Upton Park, and will be doing his utmost to orchestrate a repeat of the club's play-off final victory in 2005.

A match that is touted as 'the biggest prize in football', the £90million shoot-out promises to be an encapsulating encounter between two sides determined to spark an immediate return to the top-flight.

"It is important for the status of everyone at the club, particularly for myself and my staff and the players who require Premier League status again," Allardyce added.

"It gives them a greater standing in the game. It gives us all a greater status in the game, a huge amount of revenue into this club and it gives us worldwide branding.

"We all know how important it is from both sides - the football side and the financial side."

West Ham United

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