Have the npower Championship Play-Offs ever featured four more in-form sides? I am not sure they have.

They might be feeling slightly crestfallen but West Ham United have lost just one in their last 18 matches, Cardiff City are unbeaten in 10 games, Birmingham have no losses in nine encounters and Blackpool have tasted defeat just once in their last 10 matches too.

Normally we witness someone come into the top six late on, flying with a well-timed run of form but this time around everyone has held their ground nice and solidly in the closing weeks. All four clubs have drawn plenty but they have proven to be tough to beat ahead of the traditional end of season finale.

I'm not going to try and attempt to predict the outcome of the semi-finals as I could make a case, for and against all four of them.

Blackpool have won the last three Play-Offs they've contested but can they realistically make it four in a row? Birmingham are so solid but will their European adventure catch up with them? Cardiff City have proved they can handle cup game pressure but will the Play-Offs bite them again? And can West Ham's stars cope with the huge weight of expectation despite possessing a large, talented squad? These are questions we'll see answered by the evening of May 19.

When we get to this stage, people often talk about how much you want it, but I don't think desire comes into it that much. Every player, every manager, and all four sets of fans have a passionate will to win.

What often makes the difference is separating your heart from your head. I think it's crucial to stay cool amid the pressure because there will be others that get carried away by the occasion and make mistakes. You need luck too of course, and major performances from your best players. Any team that manages all those ingredients has a decent chance of promotion to the Premier League.

Southampton have already made it of course, and I congratulate them on their magnificent achievement. Aside from a nervy 15 minutes at the start of their clash with Coventry City they were coolness personified, and in truth steamrollered their way to the victory they needed.

The Saints are a very good side, with a lovely mixture of ability and organisation. They are worthy of top flight football.

When I look around at the 15 teams who are now on their summer holidays, some clubs will be much happier than others.

This year's success stories are arguably Peterborough United, Millwall and Watford. I feel all three have exceeded expectations and delivered quality football under difficult circumstances. They should be thrilled about their efforts in 2011/12.

The opposite can be said for Leicester City, who expected promotion, Middlesbrough who really should be in the Play-Offs but for some awful home form, and Ipswich Town, who once again struggled despite having excellent financial backing. That trio will go away this summer wondering why they didn't do better.

As most people turn their thoughts to a well-earned break, everything suddenly appears to be up in the air at Hull City, after manager Nick Barmby reportedly upset the club's owners with his comments about the transfer budget in an interview.
I haven't heard the interview but I do know that all managers love to talk about their budgets! It's their favourite topic, especially if it's not as big as they'd like. How many times have we heard gaffers bemoaning the lack of funds they have to spend, in the hope that expectations will be lowered?

I really hope that Nick and Hull City can settle their differences swiftly because it's surely not in either party's interests to go their separate ways. Barmby is a bright young manager that's showing signs of potential and after the loss of Nigel Pearson I'd imagine the Tigers are seeking a period of stability.

I'll be surprised if this incident causes Nick Barmby to leave Hull City but as we all know, you should never be shocked by what happens in football.