Cardiff looking to raise spirits of Wales

 

Cardiff will pay tribute to Gary Speed tonight with midfielder Don Cowie hoping the Bluebirds can lift the spirits of a sporting nation when they face Blackburn in the quarter-finals of the Carling Cup.

Wales has been rocked by Sunday's death of national team manager Speed, with tributes pouring in from all over the world as the game mourns the former Wales, Leeds, Everton, Newcastle, Bolton and Sheffield United midfielder.

Cowie hopes that the Bluebirds can give a boost to morale by reaching the last four of the League Cup for the first time since 1966.

"Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Gary Speed. Gary is someone I have never come across in my career but when I heard the news I was shocked and I'm sure everyone who has worked with him would have been devastated," he said.

"Hopefully we can go out on Tuesday night and reach the Carling Cup semi-finals and give everyone's spirits a lift."

Manager Malky Mackay, who faced Speed when the Welshman was in charge of Sheffield United, added: "I'm sure the correct tribute and respect will be paid towards Gary.

"Our fans are fantastic. They will do exactly what I think [they'll do] in terms of tributes, be it silence or applause."

The Bluebirds will be quietly confident of claiming a Barclays Premier League scalp with Rovers sitting bottom of the table with just seven points from 13 games.

Cardiff, on the other hand, are on an excellent unbeaten run of seven games which has seen them climb to third in the npower Championship.

And former Watford midfielder Cowie is determined to make sure that under-fire Rovers boss Steve Kean has more headaches to worry him after the Cardiff City Stadium contest.

"We are confident, we have had a good run recently and we have nothing to lose," he said.

"It will be a great occasion and I am sure the fans will turn out in numbers and get behind us.

"They are in a sticky spell, things have not gone as planed and hopefully we can take advantage of that.

"Even if they were on a good run, we are on a good run ourselves. We are confident that whatever team the manager decides to play everyone knows their role and hopefully we can go out and do our job."

But Mackay, who is to make a late decision on the fitness of Mark Hudson as the defender recovers from a hamstring problem, has warned his players not to under-estimate Blackburn, despite their lowly league position.

He said: "I have looked at them three or four times and they have had some really poor decisions against them.

"A few decisions the other way and they are out of that bottom three.

"They play decent football and they have not been out of the Premier League for a number of years, they have a sizeable squad and have plenty of Premier League experience."

PA

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