Dave Jones has told his beleaguered Cardiff side to approach today's daunting FA Cup fifth round trip to Chelsea positively. The game comes at the end of a week in which the Welsh side were given a 28-day stay of execution by the High Court after a second winding-up order over an unpaid tax bill was adjourned. As hard as it may be with the threat of administration, Jones is trying to keep his and his players focused on footballing matters as the Bluebirds challenge for promotion from the Coca-Cola Championship and FA Cup glory. But that is where his own problems begin.
The importance of Cardiff's financial health meant planned January signings were put on hold and has left their resources stretched. Captain Mark Hudson, Joe Ledley, Stephen McPhail, Miguel Comminges, Josh Magennis, Kelvin Etuhu and Tony Capaldi are all unavailable to face Chelsea because of injury or ineligibility, while striker Jay Bothroyd (ankle) and midfielder Gavin Rae (hamstring) are also highly unlikely to play against the FA Cup holders and Premier League leaders.
Michael Chopra and Gabor Gyepes will be asked to play through illness, while Darcy Blake has shaken off a back problem in time. "You've got to believe you can get something, otherwise why are we turning up?" said Jones. "It's going to be a daunting task, it's going to be very difficult, we can't even fill the bench. "It's no good going there in a defeatist mood, it's a daunting task of course it is. Even if I had my full squad out then it'd still be a daunting task for us, but whoever plays has to go out there and do their stuff to the best of their ability. "We have to be confident, we have to be brave and we have to work our socks off because they will make us work and if we're not prepared to go run and chase and see whether something can happen then you'll never know. "Miracles do come true sometimes." * With agencies
The West Brom manager Roberto Di Matteo has quashed all talk of an FA Cup quarter-final tie with a Premier League team as his side visit fellow Championship side Reading today. "It's a great competition, the FA Cup in England," he said. "We've tried our best in previous games and that's what we'll do on Saturday - we'll try to get through to the next round. We'll have to focus on the next game because, if we don't get through, then the bigger teams going out doesn't come into consideration. "Reading have had a proper cup run, they knocked out Liverpool and Burnley and I think they have picked up in the league as well now as the new manager gets to grips with his team." The Baggies beat Reading when they met in league last October, but that was their only win in their last six meetings with the Royals.
Robbie Savage has told his Derby County teammates to believe they can win the FA Cup ahead of today's fifth round tie with Premier League Birmingham. "This is going to be a fantastic occasion and something we are all looking forward to," said the former City midfielder, whose team enjoyed an excellent 3-0 win over Newcastle in the Championship in midweek. "Of course we are underdogs, we all know that. They are a Premier League side who have done superbly this season. However, we are one of 16 teams still left in the competition and we have to go into the tie not just believing that we can win the game, but with the belief that we can go all the way. I mean why not? "We have shown that, on our day, we are a match for anyone and a lot of the bigger names in the Premier League have already been knocked out."