Jones wary of 'emotional occasion'

CARDIFF City need one point to be certain of making the Coca-Cola Championship play-offs in what will be their final league game at Ninian Park against Ipswich Town tomorrow (kick-off 3pm).

Elvin King

CARDIFF City need one point to be certain of making the Coca-Cola Championship play-offs in what will be their final league game at Ninian Park against Ipswich Town tomorrow (kick-off 3pm).

And one player who will find the occasion much more of an occasion is striker Michael Chopra who was a �5m signing by Roy Keane to Sunderland shortly before last season started.

Chopra scored a few goals, but found chances hard to come by and was eventually loaned to Cardiff City by the former Manchester United star.


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The player felt frozen out by Keane and despite returning briefly to the Stadium of Light after Keane left Chopra was again limited in chances and returned to Cardiff.

He was one of a number of players who didn't fulfil their potential at Sunderland.

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Chopra has looked short of his menacing best in recent weeks and has been struggling with a recurring heel injury. He wears a special boot insert and often has painkilling injections before playing, and is reported to want to get back to form with a goal against his former manager.

Tomorrow's match is bound to be an emotional occasion with Ninian Park soon to be demolished to make way for housing.

It is a 20,000 sell-out although home fans should get the chance to see the Bluebirds in the play-off semi-final at the famous old stadium that was regularly used by the Welsh national side over the years.

A new stadium, which is situated opposite the current ground, will be open next season.

Cardiff manager Dave Jones, who was in danger of losing his job the last time Town visited Ninian Park but subsequently led his team to the 2007/08 FA Cup final, said: “It's going to be an emotional occasion. We must play the match and not the occasion.”

Stuart Taylor missed the 2-2 draw with Charlton on Tuesday with a dead leg, but his deputy Tom Heaton did well in goal and could keep his place.

Kevin McNaughton is 50-50 after missing out at Charlton with a groin strain with Miguel Comminges standing by to play again.

Chris Burke was on the bench at the Valley, but changed the outcome with a goal and an assist when he went on.

Striker Jay Bothroyd insists Cardiff will be feared by whoever they may face in the play-off semi-finals.

City are likely to face a challenge from the likes of Reading, Burnley and Sheffield United to reach the top flight for the first time in nearly half a century.

Bothroyd said: “We are the team people are going to be afraid of in the play-offs.

“Look at Arsenal in the FA Cup, I know a few people there and they did not want to come to Ninian Park, No-one is going to want to come to Ninian Park.

“We've shown loads of times this season already what great fighting spirit we have in this side.”

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