Hughton wary of Dobbie

Drew Williams

BIRMINGHAM manager Chris Hughton knows all about the threat of Stephen Dobbie in tonight's play-off semi-final first leg away to Blackpool.

Hughton tried to lure the Scottish forward to St Andrew's at the end of the January transfer window but parent club Swansea were unwilling to let him leave at that moment in time.

That changed on the final day of the emergency loan window in March, and Dobbie was allowed to go in search of regular first-team football, joining Blackpool on a deal until the end of the season.

Since then, the 29-year-old has not looked back, scoring five goals in seven games.

Hughton said: "Stephen is one we were trying to bring in and weren't able to, and of course Blackpool have benefited from that."

Blues fans will be well aware of two more of Blackpool's most influential names, with 17-goal leading scorer Kevin Phillips and skipper Barry Ferguson swapping the midlands for the north-west last summer.

It promises to be a thrilling encounter at Bloomfield Road, with the Blues boasting home advantage in the second leg next Wednesday.

But Hughton does not believe that will count for much in this year's Championship play-offs.

He said: "It's about going into the two games and playing them as they are, which are one-off games.

"Trying to come away from the first game with a favourable result, taking that into the second leg and hopefully doing well enough to go through."