Tangerines to Seal Wembley Spot

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The League One play-off semi-finals come to a conclusion as the quartet in action eye a place in the Wembley showpiece.

Neil Critchley

The League One play-off semi-finals take centre stage on Friday, with Blackpool, Oxford United, Sunderland and Lincoln City all fighting it out for a place in the Championship.

After this week’s first legs, Blackpool and Lincoln have one foot in the final after the Tangerines beat Oxford 3-0 away from home, while Lincoln proved too much for the Black Cats and recorded a 2-0 success.

While both sides have the advantage, this is still the Football League playoffs and anything can happen as the four teams lock horns once again.

Bloomfield Road Advantage too Hard to Ignore

After a turbulent few years, Blackpool look to have steadied the ship under Neil Critchley and they are in a strong position heading into the second leg.

Blackpool may have missed out on automatic promotion but they ended the regular season with four wins on the bounce, all without conceding, and that form was taken into the first leg at the Kassam Stadium.

The Tangerines cruised to a 3-0 success against Oxford on Tuesday evening, with Ellis Simms grabbing a double and Ollie Turton netting the opener.

Oxford had also ended the regular campaign in good form, finishing sixth after three successive victories, but Karl Robinson’s men were poor in the first leg and have a mountain to climb.

The U’s face a tough challenge when they travel to Bloomfield Road, a venue where Blackpool have only lost once since October – a run of 21 matches across all competitions.

The Tangerines have only conceded in one of their previous five on the west coast, and a home win in 90 minutes looks the way to go at 5/4.

Imps to Frustrate Desperate Sunderland

Lincoln’s 2-0 success at Sincil Bank leaves Sunderland in a precarious position ahead of the second leg on Saturday afternoon.

After a slow start, Lincoln claimed the first-leg victory thanks to goals from Tom Hopper and Brennan Johnson. Sunderland are now facing a fourth season in the third tier unless they can pull off an unlikely upset.

The Black Cats may have home advantage but the home win at 10/11 looks far too short considering their form, with Lee Johnson’s side winning just one of their previous nine matches.

Lincoln may not have picked up a victory on their last two away outings, to Peterborough United and Charlton Athletic, but they did win three games in a row on their travels in April without conceding.

Michael Appleton’s side will be confident of frustrating their opponents and Lincoln in the double-chance market appeals at odds of 20/23.

The recent head-to-head record would also back that up, with Lincoln not losing any of their last three games against Sunderland.

Their last two trips to the Stadium of Light have ended in 1-1 draws and punters can back the same scoreline to occur again at odds of 23/4.

*All odds correct at time of writing

Tom is a fantasy football fanatic who brings years of experience to bear when it comes to picking the best FPL players every week. Back in the real world of sports, Tom offers a strong insight into football and rugby league, whilst also having a good knowledge of several other sports including boxing, horse racing and American Football.

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