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Page last updated at 09:12 GMT, Saturday, 22 May 2010 10:12 UK

Manager Ian Holloway set for 'life-changing' play-off

Coca Cola Championship play-off final: Blackpool v Cardiff City
Venue: Wembley Stadium Date: Saturday, 22 May Kick-off: 1500 BST
Coverage: Live on BBC Radio 5 live, BBC Sport website, BBC local radio & highlights on The Football League Show. Live on Sky Sports 1

Ian Holloway

Blackpool and Cardiff prepare for Wembley

Blackpool boss Ian Holloway says winning Saturday's Championship play-off final against Cardiff would be life-changing for the whole town.

Premier League promotion would earn the winner £90m and Holloway said: "If we go up and can get people to Bloomfield Road then everybody will prosper.

"It's not just our lives we're trying to change, it's everybody in the town."

Cardiff boss David Jones said: "It's life-changing for everybody - that's why we are trying hard to achieve it."

If they win Cardiff will be the the first Welsh team in the top flight since the formation of the Premier League in 1992.

PAUL FLETCHER'S BLOG

The principality has not been represented in the top division since arch-rivals Swansea's relegation from the old First Division in 1983.

"It is not the city, it is a nation. I have said many times that whatever this football club achieves is for the nation," said Jones.

The extra income that comes with a win would be of huge benefit to the Bluebirds who face a fifth winding-up order over an unpaid £1.9m tax bill, though the club's new Malaysian investors appear to have staved off an immediate threat.

"Most football clubs have a siege mentality anyway and will anything to try and reinforce that," said Jones.

"That is what we have done, just knuckled down and played our football and leave it to the hierarchy to try and resolve all the the rest of the problems."

Jones has previously tasted success in the Championship play-off final - billed as the richest prize in football.

He led Wolves to the Premier League when they beat Sheffield United 3-0 in the 2003 final, yet for Holloway - who considers the game bigger than Saturday's Champions League final - it will be a new experience.

The former Leicester, Plymouth and QPR boss was appointed by chairman Karl Oyston last summer with the directive of keeping the Seasiders in the Championship.

Cardiff players celebrate their semi-final win over Leicester
Cardiff won 4-3 in a penalty shoot-out against Leicester to make the final

But Holloway has exceeded all expectations by taking them to within one win of a return to top flight for the first time since 1971.

"All along, even before my interview, I felt what this group was about. They won 10 games in a row to get promoted before," he said.

"I just felt that we had a chance, but I didn't think for one minute that the results would come as quickly as they have playing the way we have.

"When I arrived here I tried to share my vision of what I wanted to do with the players.

"It's expansive, attacking football and ever since we beat Everton in a pre-season game the lads have been absolutely magnificent.

"They have made it an environment of encouragement so we can play freely with no fear.

"But it's the energy of the whole club. It's changing and it's actually starting to believe in itself because I believe in it."

Meanwhile, Cardiff's Chris Burke is well aware of the threat posed by childhood friend and Blackpool playmaker Charlie Adam in Saturday's Championship play-off final.

Both players were part of the Rangers youth set-up before leaving Ibrox for England's second tier last year.

"I knew that he was going to be a fantastic signing," said Burke.

"He can spot a pass, dribble, likes a tackle and he scores goals. He will be key for their morale but we have to concentrate on ourselves."

Adam joined Blackpool for £500,000 and had become an integral part of their midfield, scoring 18 times in league and cup action.

Ridsdale's 'successful' Cardiff legacy

"People said it was a gamble for Blackpool for someone who was hardly heard of last summer but Charlie is a top lad and a bit of a joker and he gets the guys up for a game," added Burke.

"He will always get double figures for any team that he plays in.

"We have not set out any special plans. The way we got here is doing the same thing week-in week-out and we will not change our plans for this one game."

Adam scored the equaliser as Blackpool earned a 1-1 draw at Cardiff in January and 1-1 was also the scoreline when the teams met at Bloomfield Road in August.

Having dispatched Nottingham Forest to reach the final, Blackpool, who finished six points behind Cardiff in sixth place in the league table, are the surprise package but Burke said: "I can assure you nobody at this club will underestimate Blackpool.

"They are in the final because they deserve to be. It's as simple as that. We all watched the Forest game and they were fantastic in the second leg. They will set out to attack us and they have players who can score goals.

"So we know it will be tough. But we are 90 minutes away from promotion and we can't wait for the game to start."



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see also
Blackpool 3-2 Cardiff
22 May 10 |  Championship
Win or bust for Cardiff - Blake
21 May 10 |  Cardiff
Coleman targets parting success
21 May 10 |  Blackpool
Chopra hoping for Wembley repeat
20 May 10 |  Cardiff
Gatland inspiration for Holloway
19 May 10 |  Wales
Cardiff 2-3 Leicester (agg 3-3)
12 May 10 |  Championship
Forest 3-4 Blackpool (agg 4-6)
11 May 10 |  Championship


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