Jones not getting carried away

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Football News

Cardiff manager Dave Jones is under no illusions as to what promotion to the Barclays Premier League would mean for the club and for all of south Wales.

Jones leads his side into Wednesday night's play-off semi-final second leg against Leicester at the Cardiff City Stadium holding a slender 1-0 advantage from Sunday's first leg in the east midlands.

Peter Whittingham's exquisite free-kick has made the Bluebirds favourites to progress to the Wembley final for a shot at promotion to the top flight - worth an estimated #90million.

That would be music to the club's ears as they battle to clear their well-documented debt.

And, having guided Wolves to similar play-off success in 2002/03, Jones also knows what it would mean to the area as a whole.

But he is urging everyone to keep their feet on the ground and knows nothing has been achieved yet with the tie still effectively at half-time.

"It (promotion) is life changing for everybody in south Wales - that's what's at stake," he said. "But we're not there yet. And we're working hard to try to achieve it.

"When I was at Wolves and we went up, the industry and the city was on a high, everything. You look at teams that are going to come to the city. The hoteliers will be happy because more fans will come and everything else.

"It's a massive injection for everybody in south Wales.

"But we've got to get there and we've got to do it, and we've got a tough one to get there at this moment.

"We've got our noses in front and we've got to try to capitalise on that."

Winger Chris Burke is facing a race against time to be fit having come off on Sunday nursing a groin strain, while centre-back Anthony Gerrard will definitely miss out again having failed to overcome the calf injury that ruled him out of the first leg.

Jones added: "We've just got to approach the game in the manner that we've tried to approach every game this year, which is we set our stall out to try to win it."

Leicester assistant manager Craig Shakespeare believes the pressure is off the Foxes after their first-leg defeat and Cardiff will start as favourites to finish the job on home soil.

"We are obviously disappointed to be going there a goal down but, as we said to the boys after the game on Sunday, it is only half-time and rather than just 45 minutes we have 90 minutes to claw it back.

"Maybe that takes some pressure off us because, had we gone there with a lead, we would have been the favourites. Now there is no pressure on us. The onus is on Cardiff to a certain extent because the balance has swung in their favour.

"We were always going to be the underdogs, especially at Cardiff with their home record, but everyone knows in football that the underdogs sometimes come out on top."

He continued: "We go there knowing what we have to do. We will be going there with a positive mindset to try to get the result we need.

"The players are really positive about it. We have been able to turn around a one-goal deficit away from home before. We know what we have to do and we are prepared to do it."

Experienced striker Steve Howard will return to the Leicester squad after completing a three-match suspension.

The Foxes will assess the fitness of defender Wayne Brown and on-loan striker James Vaughan, who were both left out of the squad for the first leg after picking up hamstring problems in training.

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

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Chris Burke
James Vaughan
Peter Whittingham
Steve Howard
Anthony Gerrard
Wayne Brown
Wayne Brown

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