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2nd May 2012, 11:18pm

Cardiff vs West Ham Betting: Semi final first leg can be a tense and low scoring affair


After a long season of trying to gain promotion to the Premier League the last chance saloon bar opens its doors to the personnel of Cardiff City and West Ham on Thursday night when the two sides meet in the first leg of the semi final of the Championship playoffs. The Cardiff City Stadium will be close to packed as the Bluebirds look to join fellow Welsh side Swansea in the Premier League.

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Despite having home advantage Cardiff are the marginal 9/5 outsiders with BetVictor for this match. Cardiff manager Malky Mackay claimed that four players picked up knocks against Crystal Palace but having refused to name names he confirmed all four would be available for this match which means he has a fully fit squad to choose from. Cardiff come into the match unbeaten in their last 10 fixtures so they will fancy their chances of going one further than last year when they lost out to Reading in the semi finals.

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West Ham also have a full squad to pick from after their captain Kevin Nolan recovered from a knock and midfielder Gary O’Neil was passed fit to play. James Tomkins had been carrying a knock too but he’s also been given the green light to play. West Ham have won four of their last six matches so despite narrowly missing out on promotion automatically they can draw on the comfort that their form has been good recently.

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Cardiff will have the disappointment of losing in the playoffs for the last two seasons in their minds and I think they can use that to their advantage in this tie. However I expect the tie to be a very tight one. Championship ties generally are because the prize is so massive and I very much expect this one to be tight. Both sides play with one up front and are good and strong defensively so I don’t see many goals arriving over the 90 minutes of this first leg tie.

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