Cardiff to overturn Crystal Palace deficit to reach Carling Cup final

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Playing at Wembley has become almost second nature to Cardiff in recent seasons and they can prepare for another return by reaching the final of the Carling Cup at the expense of Crystal Palace.

Cardiff head into the home fixture 1-0 down from the first leg of the semi final in London, but will certainly be buoyed by comments from opposing manager Dougie Freedman.

The Bluebirds have notoriously come up short in recent seasons, with two examples coming on their Wembley visits in the last four campaigns, firstly when losing the 2008 FA Cup final to Portsmouth and then a Championship play-off final defeat to Blackpool in 2010.

Freedman believes that the pressure is firmly on Cardiff not to choke at a big moment again and it is 10/11 that they overcome their deficit to reach another cup final.

However, they have the pedigree to triumph, having won nine of their last ten Carling Cup matches on home soil.

Also in the favour of Cardiff is that Crystal Palace have never won at the Cardiff City Stadium, drawing on two of their two visits and losing on the other.

Meanwhile, Cardiff triumphed 2-0 in the latest of these meetings in November and a repeat of this success will be enough to take them to Wembley without the need for extra time.

Crystal Palace are certainly taking the game seriously, having rested a host of first-teamers for the latst Championship defeat to Blackpool.

But there is no guarantee that this will help Freedman, given that a virus is working its way through the squad and leaving a handful of players including first-leg scorer Anthony Gardner doubtful for the showdown.

Crystal Palace is 4/5 in the Carling Cup odds to reach the final, while it is 4/1 that they beat Cardiff and 5/2 they draw, which would both be good enough to guarantee this outcome.

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Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.