UNTIL last season, Oxford United were one of just three clubs currently in the top four divisions to never experience the English Football League (EFL) play-offs. 

While the U’s now embark on their second campaign in as many years, their opponents this time around have a rather proud play-off record.

Since their introduction in the 1986/87 season, Blackpool have gone up via the play-offs more than any other team (five from eight campaigns, winning 16 of 23 games).

Read also: How many teams have won the play-offs at the second attempt?

The Seasiders are the only side to win promotion from all three EFL divisions via this route, with reaching the Premier League a highlight.

A thrilling encounter against Cardiff City in 2010 saw Ian Holloway’s men lead 3-2 at half-time through Charlie Adam, Gary Taylor-Fletcher and Brett Ormerod.

No goals were scored in the second half, and the Lancashire outfit achieved the seemingly impossible after being branded relegation favourites at the beginning of the campaign.

Blackpool’s relationship with the play-offs got off to a rocky start though, after losing the Division Three final to Torquay United on penalties in 1991.

Karl Robinson: Pressure off Oxford United against Blackpool

However, the next season they saw off Scunthorpe United in the final and the relationship blossomed.

The Tangerines have been beaten in only one of their last 15 play-off games – the 2012 Championship final against West Ham – and have only lost in the semi-finals once, to Bradford City in 1996.

Most recently, the Seasiders sealed promotion to Sky Bet League One in 2017 after defeating Exeter City 2-1, even with fans boycotting against ex-owners, the Oyston family.