Play-off pain to spur on Cardiff

CARDIFF manager Dave Jones admits he is still hurting from last year's play-off final defeat at Wembley and hopes his players are too as they bid to go one better just 12 months later.

Jones is also adamant the mood in the Bluebirds squad is upbeat as they head for Reading for the first leg of the play-off semi-final and that no one is dwelling on the disappointment of missing out on automatic promotion from the npower Championship.

Cardiff lost 3-2 to Blackpool in last year's final and, asked whether the players who took part last May are now mentally tougher, Jones said: "I hope they're hurting. That's what I do hope. It still hurts me, it still sticks with me. Like most games I've lost.

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"The bigger the prize, cup finals and games like that, they're the ones that stick with you. They're the ones that hurt the most.

"I'm still smarting and that's why we've worked so hard to try and get back, whether it be through the top two or through the play-offs."