Hughton ready for biggest night

Chris Hughton is preparing for the biggest 90 minutes of his managerial career as Birmingham entertain Blackpool tonight (7:45pm) in the second leg of their npower Championship play-off semi-final.

Hughton watched his side emerge from Friday night’s first leg at Bloomfield Road on the end of a 1-0 defeat, knowing a poor performance sprinkled with chances meant the result could easily have been 3-0 as much as 1-1.

Blues will now look to overturn that deficit and set up a Wembley showdown against West Ham on May 19, with the most lucrative match in world football guaranteeing the winners an immediate return to the Premier League — and the riches that entails.

Former Republic of Ireland defender Hughton spent many years on the coaching staff at Tottenham and then Newcastle, where he was caretaker boss and then manager, guiding the club to the Championship title in 2010 before being sacked that December.

But the rewards on offer over 90 minutes tonight makes the play-off showdown unique.

“It is, yes [the biggest game], because it’s the one right at this moment,” Hughton said.

“Certainly as a manager it is. I was involved in the coaching staff at Newcastle when the team went down on the last day of the season.

“This is right up there. It’s a massive, massive game for all concerned.”


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