Championship betting preview: Tangerines look a tasty proposition


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The Independent Football

Nothing can invigorate belief within a dressing room like coming from behind to win and Blackpool have managed it three times in as many weeks, so it could be worth siding with the Seasiders to put unstable Portsmouth to the sword at Bloomfield Road on Saturday evening.

Ian Holloway's men were a goal down with five minutes to go when Crsytal Palace were the visitors on January 21 and they won 2-1. Then they repeated the trick from an even more acute position against Coventry in their next league outing when the Sky Blues were just three minutes from victory on the Fylde coast only to end up empty-handed.

However, most impressive of all was last weekend's turnaround at Cardiff. The Tangerines were the better side for an hour in south Wales, so it must have been a real sucker punch when Joe Mason put the Bluebirds ahead. Undeterred, the Lancashire outfit hit back in some style with three late goals from the Phillips double-act.

And therein lies the catalyst for the awesome momentum that Blackpool are generating because alongside Holloway's penchant for turning fear into fun, they also boast an abundance of firepower, players who, at the drop of a hat, can settle a game at this level.

Matty Phillips, Kevin Phillips, Lomanu LuaLua, Gary Taylor-Fletcher, Roman Bednar - they all offer something completely different to each other and they provide Holloway with various ways to mix things up if his Plan A proves to be fruitless.

In some respects, the growing mood around Bloomfield Road at the moment is reminiscent to what it was when the Seasiders came from nowhere to snatch a play-off berth with a late surge that saw them promoted two years ago, except now they have three months to drag it out, which might be a good thing or a bad thing depending on your opinion of its sustainability.

Either way, the Tangerines are ripe for success right now and we shouldn't baulk at odds of 4/5 about the victory over Pompey in light of their financial problems.

Michael Appleton has some experienced pros at his disposal but few of them believe their careers have taken a turn for the better with a move to Fratton Park and recent problems with wage payments will hardly help the manager's chances of selling them a long-term vision.

We don't anticipate a stinker from the visitors, especially not in light of Tuesday's brave effort at Birmingham, but Blackpool are better and they're in the habit of winning at the moment, which counts for a lot. They can come from behind to win, or they can score early and win easily, just as they have done when posting 3-0 wins over Middlesbrough a month ago and Sheffield Wednesday in midweek.

Meanwhile, Blackpool aren't the only relegated side that have started to slip through the gears after Christmas - they're all it - and that's why we're tipping up a West Ham, Birmingham and Blackpool treble at nearly 7/1.

All three sides have had their own fall-outs to negotiate since falling out of the Premier League last May and all three managers deserve immense credit for keeping things on an even keel.

But it's also no coincidence that all three clubs have the security of knowing they will be well-kept by the Premier League paymasters for a further three years under the terms of the new parachute payment plan, so promotion back to the top flight isn't the instant necessity it once was, and it would come as no great surprise if they occupy the top three places come the end of the season.

Birmingham go to Barnsley and while our admiration for Keith Hill is no secret, the Tykes are there for taking on while they get used to life without Danny Drinkwater and Ricardo Vaz Te.

West Ham go to Peterborough and though it would be harsh to suggest that Posh are starting to resemble the team that went into freefall at this level two years ago, the going is evidently starting to get a bit tougher for them.

Recommended bets:

2.5pts Blackpool to beat Portsmouth at 4/5 (general)

1pt treble on West Ham, Birmingham and Blackpool at 6.74/1 (Coral)

For more betting news and views, please visit You can also follow Mike Holden on Twitter: @Miguel_BOTB