Where Blackpool rank among previous playoff winners in the first league season at this stage

Blackpool have defied all odds since Neil Critchley took over the reins two years ago and with their eyes watching the board at the end of the season they have more than proven their worth.

Back-to-back wins over Reading and Stoke saw the Seasiders rack up 48 points after 35 games with seven points between them and Middlesbrough – who currently sit last in the playoffs.

Year-to-date performances have improved dramatically and when Josh Bowler and Kevin Stewart are on song in Mandarin shirts, the levels this side could reach are only increasing on a weekly basis.

READ MORE: Daniel Gretarsson gives insight into life under Neil Critchley in exclusive interview

An incredible run of form at the end of the season saw Blackpool finish third in League One to secure a place in the playoffs where they eventually proved too strong for Oxford United and Lincoln City in the semi-finals and final respectively.

Whether they can put together something similar this campaign is yet to be seen, but they have already shown they are more than capable of competing at Championship level.

We’ve taken a look at the previous Ligue 1 playoff winners and where they stand at this stage of their first seasons in the second tier after promotion.

2020/21 – Wycombe

HIGH WYCOMBE, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 29: Ryan Tafazolli of Wycombe Wanderers celebrates with team mate Joe Jacobson after scoring his team’s opening goal during the Sky Bet Championship match between Wycombe Wanderers and Cardiff City at Adams Park on December 29, 2020 in High Wycombe, England. The match will be played without supporters, behind closed doors as a Covid-19 precaution. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

After beating Oxford in the 2019/20 League One qualifying final, Gareth Ainsworth’s side have been outclassed for the majority of their campaign at this stage.

Coming off a 2-0 loss at Stoke on March 6, Wycombe had amassed just 23 points from 34 appearances and found themselves 12 points from safety. A -34 goal difference only made their problems worse.

2019/20 – Charlton

LEEDS, ENGLAND – JULY 22: Charlton Athletic manager Lee Bowyer looks on during the Sky Bet Championship match between Leeds United and Charlton Athletic at Elland Road on July 22, 2020 in Leeds, England. (Photo by Alex Dodd – CameraSport via Getty Images)

Beating Sunderland at Wembley in the summer of 2019 to secure their place in the second tier, Charlton faced similar problems to Wycombe – but not to the extent that Ainsworth’s side faced.

After losing 1-0 to Middlesbrough on March 7 – the last game before the league was shut down for more than three months due to the coronavirus pandemic – they were in the final relegation spot in 22nd with 39 points from 37 games. . They were two points away from safety.

2018/19 – Rotherham

After a narrow win over Shrewsbury in the 2018 League One Qualifying Final, Rotherham adapted to life in the Championship in much the same way teams did thereafter, sitting in the heart of a relegation battle.

A big 3-2 win over Blackburn on March 2, their first in eight games, was not enough to push them out of the drop zone, sitting in 22nd place with 33 points from 35 games – level on points with Reading who were safe on goal difference at this stage.

2017/18 – Millwall

Millwall are the latest side to improve Blackpool’s tally at this stage in their first season back at Championship level after being promoted via the playoffs.

After the win over Hull they were in 11th place with 50 points – two ahead of the Seasiders at this stage, despite having played one game more. They were sitting six points out of the playoffs at this point.

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