Stephen Dobbie eyes Wembley hat-trick with Blackpool
Lucky charm Stephen Dobbie admits he is dreaming of leading Blackpool to his third straight Championship play-off success.
The Scot was part of the Seasiders’ fairytale promotion two years ago during a loan stint from parent club Swansea.
Dobbie also scored in the Swans’ triumph over Reading last term before returning for a second temporary spell with Ian Holloway’s side in February.
Five goals in as many starts have helped Blackpool set up another final – this time against West Ham – and Dobbie is looking to keep his remarkable Wembley run going in today’s all-important showdown.
He said: “I can’t believe I’m going back to Wembley for a third time in a row. The whole point of being in the game is to play on these big stages and you always dream you’re going to score the winner and that your team wins.
“Hopefully by 5 o’clock on Saturday, I’ll have my third medal in a row. The first time with Blackpool, I came on loan and scored a few goals but last year back at Swansea I played most of the season and it was fantastic.
“If I could do it again with Blackpool, that would be some achievement. I keep all my medals up the road in Glasgow. I’ve watched re-runs of the games a few times, my wife is bored of it but my son loves it. I’m just looking forward to the game. They way we got through the semi-final away at Birmingham was fantastic. We stood up to the pressure and the spirit in the dressing room is great.”
Blackpool left-back and Scotland internationalist Stephen Crainey is desperate to get back to the top flight after just lasting one season alongside English football’s elite. He said: “Getting relegated still hurts. That was a big disappointment to us, but every credit to the lads in this dressing room. We came in for pre-season last year and we have produced miracles in my eyes. We have done so well to get to the position we have but we have to remember that we haven’t done anything yet.
“We don’t want to get to the final and not do it. We want to get to the final, win, and have another brilliant season at the top to look forward to.”
For team-mate Kevin Phillips the targets is to earn himself a top-flight swansong. Veteran striker Phillips will turn out for his fifth Barclays Premier League club if Holloway’s men can overcome the Hammers, having enjoyed his most productive season in front of goal since his Sunderland heyday a decade ago.
The 38-year-old, who has returned 17 goals in all competitions for the Seasiders during the present campaign, is already signed on for next term at Bloomfield Road and would ideally hang up his boots after one last stint at the pinnacle of the English game.
“By the time the season kicks off next year I’ll be 39 and if it was in the Premier League I’d pretty much certainly, 99 per cent, call it a day at the end and look to move on to other things,” said Phillips. “I certainly believe I could score goals in that league.
“It would be great to hang my boots up at the top, but if it doesn’t happen I’ll still give it another crack next year and try and help the team get promoted again.”
Eyebrows were raised when Phillips joined Blackpool on a free transfer from Birmingham after both clubs were relegated from the Premier League last summer, but the former England international has been only too happy to confound the doubters.
“When you sign, all players look on the message boards and read what people are saying in the local paper – they’re lying if they say they don’t,” he said.
“You hear what people say, but it doesn’t bother me. I’ve been used to it for so long now and I believe I can score goals. I think a lot of people thought my days had gone all together. I’ve never given up.
“I can’t argue about the last two seasons of my career, especially this season because I’m pretty sure when I signed there probably wasn’t one supporter in this ground who believed I could score ten goals or complete 90 minutes. I’ve certainly proved a lot of people wrong.”
Phillips is happy to give a large chunk of the credit to Tangerines manager Holloway, a manager he holds in the highest regard.
“The most important person in all this, who never gave up, was the manager,” he explained. “When I spoke to him, he didn’t care less how old I was. The one thing I will say is he’s so passionate about football. I don’t think I’ve met a manager as passionate and he expresses that passion well. He’s an emotional guy as well, but that combination makes him an excellent manager and he certainly gets the best out of his players.”
Blackpool face the daunting prospect of a West Ham side that have rattled eight goals past them over the course of two wins this season, with only one in reply – scored by Phillips from the bench. He is expected to be a substitute once more at the national stadium, with Dobbie and Gary Taylor-Fletcher leading the Seasiders’ attack magnificently during their current nine-match unbeaten run, and it is a role Alan Shearer’s one-time boot boy will relish. “This season has probably gone the way I expected – I’d play a few, be rested for a few, come on and change the game sometimes,” he said. “Scoring 17 goals isn’t bad for an old man, as people keep telling me.”
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Wednesday 19 June 2013
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