Blackpool defender Ian Evatt hits out at West Ham overconfidence ahead of Championship play-off final

 

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The Independent Online

Blackpool defender Ian Evatt has hit out at what he perceives to be an air of overconfidence from West Ham ahead of Saturday's npower Championship play-off final.

Ian Holloway's Seasiders head into the contest on a nine-match unbeaten run, but in the knowledge they shipped eight goals across two defeats to the Hammers in the league this term.

A final points total 11 shy of Sam Allardyce's men has also been used as a reason to discount Blackpool's hopes in some quarters, but Evatt insists West Ham should take his team-mates lightly at their peril.

"If you listen to them, they're already up aren't they?" he said. "It's going to be a 90-minute game and it's going to be difficult for them as it is for us.

"If I was them I wouldn't be counting my chickens just yet because what I have learned over the past five or six season is these players never give up.

"It's a fantastic Blackpool team and one that it's a privilege to play in."

The appearance of a mocked-up online photograph of West Ham's away kit for next season, complete with Premier League branding, is the latest thing to get the goat of 30-year-old centre-back.

When asked whether the tone of elements of the pre-match build up had become an irritation for him, Evatt added: "Yeah, I'd be a liar if I said no when I read the papers and read what certain people are saying about how West Ham are going to win.

"A guy has just told me that their new kit's come out with Premier League badges on, which I think is jumping the gun a bit and it's disrespectful towards our group of players.

"I'm not going to sit here and say Blackpool are going to win, but we're going to give them a better game than they think we're going to give them."

Some players might choose to switch off from such issues in the build-up to a big game, an approach Evatt feels would be futile as he hopes to secure Blackpool's second play-off triumph in three seasons and a third in his six campaigns at Bloomfield Road.

"I just think that it's a game you're never going to get away from so you've got to embrace it," he explained.

"People have just got to embrace the fact that it's a massive game.

"There's no shirkers in our dressing room. We'll got there and give it everything we've got and hopefully that will be good enough on the day."

PA

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