Match Of The Week: Blackpool 2-1 Nottingham Forest

From up on the north-western coast of England has come one of the surprise stories of the season. Very few people would have anticipated Blackpool surging into the Championship play-off places this season, but Ian Holloway’s team have managed it while other clubs with bigger ambitions such as Middlesbrough and Ipswich Town have struggled. Even though Holloway tends to divide opinion, few would deny his achievement in taking a club with an average home crowd of just over 8,000 – the second lowest in the division after Scunthorpe United – to the brink of a place in the Premier League. Blackpool’s geography means that a Premier League place may mean more to them than most – derby matches against Bolton Wanderers and Blackburn Rovers as well as matches against the four massive clubs from Liverpool and Manchester would lay in wait if they can negotiate their way through the play-offs. For Nottingham Forest supporters, meanwhile, this month marks an almost poignant anniversary. Thirty years ago, in May 1980, they were the European champions and were gearing up to, successfully as it turned out, defend their European Cup in a Madrid final against Hamburg. The days of provincial English clubs being able to hold their own at the top end of European football may be gone and unlikely to return in the forseeable future, but Forest have been revived over...

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