After the heart-break of last years final day defeat at Old Trafford Blackpool are desperate to seal top-flight football once more. When Ian Evatt diverted into his own net last May even the most optimistic Tangerines fan would have struggled to believe how well they have bounced back this season. With the wise additions of players with plenty of Premier League experience blended with youth they have had an excellent season.
The effervescent Kevin Phillips, at 38 years of age, has scored 16 goals with many from the bench to help launch another promotion challenge. Along with the firepower of players such as Lomana Lualua and Roman Bednar they have looked a threat against any side facing them this year. The steady head of Barry Ferguson and the raw talent of Matt Phillips have mixed the squad together brilliantly to give them a real chance.
Leading 1-0 from the first leg, Blackpool travel to St Andrews tonight with real hope of a return to English football's elite. Extrovert manager Ian Hollway has claimed that tonight's match will be the 'biggest moment of our lives'. However he went on to say: "I'm looking forward to it, I can't be worried. I'd be worried if we were not in this situation.
It's going to take every ounce of everything we've got going down there with their crowd and their passion."
Standing in their way are a Birmingham City side just as desperate for a place in the league where they feel they belong. Having finished only one place and one point above Blackpool in the league table they knew a tough tie was in store. If they were worried before they will be more worried now that they have a one goal deficit. The Blues will be hoping that the 61 games they have played this season prior to this game will not take their toll, especially as their opponents have played nine matches less.
Whatever happens it is sure to be a gripping contest with a Wembley place on offer and both sides certain to be desperate to keep their Premier League dreams alive.