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Battling Blackpool overpriced to secure Premier League return

Blackpool sit in fourth spot in the Championship but are being overlooked for promotion. Buck the trend and back them to go up at a huge 10/1.

The key to getting out of the second tier of English football is producing your best against the teams around you.

Must-win matches

Last season the three teams who went up – Cardiff, Hull and Crystal Palace – were fourth, third and second respectively when it came to playing teams in the top 12.

In 2011/12 it was a similar story with Reading, Southampton and West Ham once again all in the top four against the best sides.

So far this season, it is teams in the north west who have fared best, with Burnley and Blackpool sitting first and second, with Wigan, who haven’t started the season that well, also a fairly lofty eighth.

Blackpool have won four of their six matches against top half sides and Paul Ince’s squad looks to have the right blend of exciting young players as well as experienced heads.

Midfield key to Tangerines

Manager’s son Tom Ince is the most high-profile of the youngsters, and with six goals to his name already this season he is a tremendously important component; not a lot of teams have a genuine game-changer like him.

However he has been ably supported by the 25-year-old pair of Chris Basham and Steve Davies who have both chipped in with two goals apiece.

Midfield is a real strength of the Seasiders, who have the guile and big-game experience of Barry Ferguson and the on-loan Dan Gosling to draw on as well.

Northern contenders

The other two teams who make appeal in this market are Nottingham Forest at 13/5 and Wigan at 9/2.

Forest have started the season strongly and they are another side who produce their best on the big occasion, as demonstrated by their emphatic 2-0 win at Leicester.

Their opponents were on a real crest of a wave but goals from Simon Cox and Jamie Mackie sealed the win and they are certainly capable of launching a title challenge, with upcoming home games against Burnley and Reading likely to prove crucial.

Meanwhile Wigan have failed to wow in their first season since relegation, however the FA Cup winners have had a busy schedule due to a Europa League adventure.

Europa!

However, they have actually won three of their four league matches which directly followed their European games, so focus is not a problem and it’s a matter of time before their team gels.

Summer recruits Marc-Antoine Fortune, Grant Holt and James McClean, along with loan signing Nick Powell are still finding their feet but the goals should flow freely when they do.

Manager Owen Coyle knows what it takes get a Lancashire club promoted, having done so with Burnley in 2008/9.