Holloway fired up for play-offs

Tom Ince in action against Millwall
Tom Ince in action against Millwall
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Blackpool manager Ian Holloway feels the Championship play-offs are too close to call after his side rounded off their regular season campaign with a 2-2 draw at Millwall.

An Ian Evatt header and Nouha Dicko’s low finish in either half appeared to be setting the Seasiders on their way to victory ahead of a play-off semi-final clash with Birmingham.

However Millwall, who opened the scoring thanks to Andy Keogh after 12 minutes, struck late through Harry Kane to end the season with five wins and two draws from their last seven matches.

Blackpool now welcome Birmingham, who finished one place above them in fourth, to Bloomfield Road on May 4, with the winners after the two legs to face either West Ham or Cardiff in the Wembley final.

“I would have probably taken that before the match and I’m relieved we were in the play-offs already and that I didn’t have to feel that horrible tension that the other teams must have felt,” said Holloway, in reference to Cardiff’s tussle with Middlesbrough to secure the final play-off spot.

“It’s a fantastic achievement to get in the play-offs and now let’s go and take on a really good side in Birmingham. It will be interesting to see which way it goes.

“But it’s going to be tough, isn’t it? To have Birmingham and West Ham in there, and obviously Cardiff who certainly consider themselves a big club, who’s going to win? I don’t know.

“There are a lot of big teams who aren’t in the play-offs but we will give it our best shot, we will try and win every single half of it if we can.

“We’re not a team who can even shut up shop at Millwall so we’ve got to keep going. Hopefully it will make for interesting viewing.”

Millwall finish the season 11 places below Blackpool in 16th, having spent much of the season dicing with relegation, and boss Kenny Jackett insists he can finally sleep easy.

“We’ve finished 17 points off relegation, but I think I didn’t sleep for seven months, but it’s a big gap all of a sudden there,” said Jackett.

“It was a very good end to the season and it should give us confidence going into next year. You don’t see the kind of run we’ve been on in this league.

“On the day I thought we more than matched Blackpool. The game went one way then the other with us starting well and them coming back.

“I like the way Blackpool play, I think they’re a competent side both in possession and out, and their model is one that we would love to base ourselves on.

“They’re a side that can score out of nothing, even if the game is quite low-key and there’s nothing much happening. They’ve got a lot of quality there.”