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Apr 062012

course getting into the play-offs is the easy part- what lies ahead is five
matches of football which combine to become the most nail-biting spectacle in
football, culminating in ‘the most expensive match in football’, where the
victors win an estimated £70M in licencing deals. The play-offs are brilliant
for the neutrals, but terrible for the supporters of the teams taking



Chris Hughton has done an excellent job with Birmingham this season under
difficult circumstances. The Blues have had a transfer embargo for the majority
of the season following owner Carson Yeung’s arrest in Hong Kong and Hughton
has had to sell man than ten first team players. Birmingham also impressed in
the Europa League and have only just caught up with the rest of the
Championship in terms of games played.


Chris Burke


has had a great season and is essential to Birmingham’s hopes. He’s their
second-highest scorer and is the most creative player in the squad.


Birmingham should
have enough to get into the play-offs and will be very dangerous with their
strong defence and attacking weapons. Nobody will want to face them in the



had a good 3-1 win over Southampton last weekend, which pushed them back up to
fifth place. They’ve been in and around the play-offs all season but have been
on a poor run of form lately and this will need to improve if they are to get a
play-off berth. Blackpool play an exciting brand of football and score plenty
of goals, but their defence could turn out to be an ‘Achilles’ heal’.


Kevin Phillips


veteran’s goals have been crucial for Blackpool, and his experience may also
prove priceless in the run-in.


They should get in
but with things so tight I wouldn’t be surprised to see Blackpool miss out. If
they do get into the play-offs they have as good a chance as anyone but
opposition teams would fancy having a go at their defence.



Poyet’s side have been on a great run of form recently and as a result have
found themselves in the play-offs. Unlike most of the teams around them they
haven’t been there or thereabouts throughout the season but in the past we’ve
seen many teams go up after a late charge into the play-offs.




former Valencia and Spain star arrived to much ado in August and his move into
a rich vein of form has coincided with Brighton going on this run. If he can
keep up his form it would greatly help the Seagulls’ cause.


Brighton have got
into the play-offs on the back of a hot streak but this has shown signs of
faltering in recent games. They may be in a false position and have some tough
matches remaining, so it’ll be tough for them to finish in the top six.



have been up at the top all campaign and improved their squad in January,
especially with the addition of Lukas Jutkiewicz. Tony Mowbray has done an
admiral job to turn around their fortunes from last season and they way
Middlesbrough set up they’ll be tough to break down.




was brought in to add firepower to Boro’s faltering front line and if the big
man can perform in front of goal they should make it into the play-offs.


Verdict: Middlesbrough should make it into
the play-offs given how they’ve played throughout the season.



Bluebirds made headlines when the reached the final of the League Cup but have
been poor ever since, dropping out of the race for automatic promotion. Now
outside of the play-offs they’ve got it all to do if they’re to get into the
play-offs. Even if they do get in their recent history of chocking would
suggest that fans shouldn’t hold their breath.




was nominated for player of the year but missed out to Rickie Lambert. He is
Cardiff’s talisman and needs to lift his team if they are to make the


Cardiff will be
kicking themselves of they don’t make the play-offs but even if they do you
have to wonder how previous play-off defeats will effect them.



Hull has the best defence in the league but their attack has let them down. If
they can start to find the net they might be able to sneak in but are already
five points off sixth place and have it all to do.


Josh King


U21 international King has come in on loan from Manchester United and the
Tigers hope that he can be the answer to their goalscoring woes. If he gets his
name on the scoresheet a few times between now and the end of the season Hull
might just sneak in.


If Hull can sneak
in at the end of the season they’ll have a great chance in the play-offs, but
current form doesn’t suggest they’ll do that.


Watford and Liecester

All of
these sides have been a way off the play-offs all season and have it all to do
if they’re to finish there. In the past though teams have gone all the way to
the Premier League on the back of a late run of form, and if one of them can
win a few consecutive games and other results go their way they’d be a force to
be reckoned with in the play-offs.

GFT Editor

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