ALEX Baptiste has revealed his tip for being in perfect nick for Blackpool’s Wembley showdown – not much kip last night.
The Seasiders defender explained why he may look bleary-eyed today: “I’ll stay up for as long as possible on Thursday and not have too much sleep, then I’ll be so shattered I’ll get 12 hours the next night.
“The one thing you want the night before a big game is a decent night’s sleep.
“I got to the play-off final with Mansfield a few years ago and all I remember is still being awake at 4am because I was so nervous. That isn’t what you’d call ideal.”
Baptiste has more reason than most for wanting to get back to the Premier League via Saturday’s play-off final against West Ham – his season in the top-flight was little short of a write-off. He suffered a knee injury early in the campaign and reckons he was only fully fit for the final four games, by which time the Seasiders were in a desperate relegation scrap they eventually lost.
Baptiste said: “I’ve heard a few of the lads say they want to play in the Premier League again because they feel they have unfinished business. Well, I probably have more unfinished business than most.
“I felt as if I only really had four games in the division. Even though I played more (Baptiste started 19), I wasn’t right. I was out for four or five months, and when that happens it is hard to get back into it again.
“When I did return I was playing left-back and right-back. I didn’t really feel properly fit until the last four games, and even then I was playing with a slight problem.
“But it would be brilliant to get back because I don’t think I was able to do myself justice at that level and I would like another go.”
To do that, he needs to help Pool get past a West Ham side that are big favourites with the bookies.
But unlike some, Baptiste doesn’t mind being tagged as underdogs.
“It suits us being written off,” said the 26-year-old. “West Ham are a very good side and how they didn’t get promotion is beyond me. They had the best squad in the league and it is going to be tough.
“They battered Cardiff (in the semi-final). They have a good defence and midfiel,d and they are strong up front – there isn’t really a weakness.
“We know we are up against it but we are going to make it tough for them and hopefully come out winners.
“I’ll tell you this – if they win, they will know they have been in a game. It’s going to be the toughest game they’ve had.”