Holloway calls on Tangerines to end Newcastle home rule

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The Independent Football

The Blackpool manager Ian Holloway has challenged his play-off chasers to spoil another Newcastle party and "smack them off the face of the Earth".

Newcastle celebrated promotion on Monday as they beat Sheffield United at St James' Park, and their supporters will have another chance to toast their heroes on home soil this afternoon. But it's Blackpool with arguably more to play for, having moved to within a point of the top six, and their home win over Newcastle in September will fill them with confidence ahead of the trip to the North-east.

Leicester have a single-point advantage over Blackpool with four games remaining, and fifth-placed Swansea are just a further point better off, with Holloway's side having just strung together four straight wins.

However, Newcastle are unbeaten at home in the league this season, as Holloway is all too well aware.

"We've got to do something no-one else has done and I think we're going to have to win the game, because heartbreakingly we could win all four games and still not get what we want,'' he said. "I want to go there and smack them off the face of the Earth if I can."

While West Bromwich Albion, who are at Doncaster, look to clinch promotion, Newcastle are eyeing the title. With a six-point lead and a game in hand, the trophy is in their sights.

Nottingham Forest's realistic aim is sealing third place, and victory over Roy Keane's Ipswich today would guarantee them a play-off place, although that has been practically assured for weeks. Cardiff, in fourth, host Reading, while the battle to avoid the drop continues with Watford, who are outside the relegation zone on goal difference, at home to second-bottom Plymouth. Should Plymouth win, they would be a point behind the Hornets.

Third-bottom Sheffield Wednesday face Middlesbrough, whose play-off chances look to be over, and Crystal Palace meet QPR at Selhurst Park. Neither London club is safe yet, and the same can be said for Preston and Scunthorpe, who meet at Deepdale.

Barnsley and Derby are marginally better off and can approach their Oakwell encounter in the anticipation of another campaign in the Championship, while Sheffield United and Coventry meet at Bramall Lane knowing they will repeat the fixture next season.

Ups and Downs: Who'll go up?

*Championship: West Brom go up if they win or if Forest fail to win.

*League One: Stockport will be relegated if they lose to Yeovil, or if Leyton Orient and Tranmere win and Oldham avoid defeat.

*League Two: Darlington are relegated if they lose, Torquay and Cheltenham win and Lincoln draw.