Players in the press

Last updated : 21 May 2003 By Michael Morris

Neil's saving grace - May 20th

NEIL Alexander may never know how it feels to score a crucial goal, but says his miracle save in the second leg against Bristol City comes awfully close.

The Scotsman turned in exemplary performances in both legs and made a vital save in each game.

At Ninian Park, Bristol almost caught Cardiff cold when Brian Tinnion chipped a ball into Christian Roberts and his header across goal was superbly turned around the post by Alexander in the eighth minute.

That save was overshadowed by Peter Thorne's winner on 73 minutes, but in the second leg at Ashton Gate, Alexander silenced the entire ground when he pushed Tinnion's close-range header out of his bottom right-hand corner.

"That's definitely as close as I will come to feeling like I have scored a goal," he said.
Full story

Kavanagh has point to prove - May 20th

CARDIFF CITY skipper Graham Kavanagh picked up an award at the Millennium Stadium last year - but described the experience as one of the low points of his career, writes Mario Risoli.

The Irishman was invited to the 74,500-capacity venue in May 2002 to pick up the FA Cup giant-killing of the season award for City's famous third-round victory over Leeds United. But the award came only two days after the Bluebirds were denied a place in the Division Two play-off final by his former club Stoke City.

Kavanagh had to put on a brave face as he collected the award - and the midfielder - who is now hoping to lift the Second Division play-off winners' trophy - described that Millennium Stadium experience as one of his career lows.
Full story.

Alexander. My chance to show Berti - May 20th

NEIL ALEXANDER believes winning promotion to the First Division is the key to winning his long-awaited first Scotland cap.

Scotland boss Berti Vogts drafted the Cardiff City goalkeeper into his squad for the first time at the end of last season for a tour of the Far East.

But a year on and the 25-year-old from Edinburgh has yet to play for his country - despite being named in virtually every squad for the last 12 months.

And the former Livingston man is convinced the fact he is a Division Two player is holding him back.

Alexander now has the chance to remove that tag on Sunday when the Bluebirds take on Queens Park Rangers in the Second Division play-off final at the Millennium Stadium.

The Scot, who has yet to set foot inside the 74,500-capacity venue, said, "I am sure playing in the Second Division is not helping my international cause.
Full story.

Danny's got it taped - May 21st

CARDIFF CITY defender Daniel Gabbidon watched a video of Wales' famous Euro 2004 win over Italy earlier this week "to get me in the mood for Sunday".

Four days before he walks out onto the Millennium Stadium turf for the Division Two play-off final against Queens Park Rangers, Gabbidon relived that amazing 2-1 win over the Azzurri last October inside the 74,500-capacity venue.

That was the night Gabbidon marked Azzurri golden boy Alessandro Del Piero, the man who has led Juventus to the Serie A title as well as the European Cup final this season, out of the game.

The triumph over the star-studded Azzurri remains the high-point of Gabbidon's career. So far.

If City beat QPR in Sunday's Millennium Stadium shoot-out to book their place in the First Division then that Wales victory will have a rival when it comes to Gabbidon's favourite football memory.

"I've got a video of the Italy game and I was watching it the other night to get me in the mood for Sunday," said the 23-year-old from Cwmbran.

"It's nice to watch that game again. It brings back a lot of happy memories.

"Even now I still get goosebumps when I watch it."
Full story.

Me under pressure. Don't make me laugh says Earnie - May 21st

IF Robert Earnshaw's neighbours notice the lights on and movement in his home in the early hours of the morning this week, I can assure them there is no need to panic.

It won't be burglars ... nor will it be little Earnie pacing up and down riddled with play-off final nerves in the small hours.

On the contrary, it will be business as usual for Cardiff City's Wales hot-shot who revealed he never goes to bed before 2am.

It is something that became a bit of a superstition during Earnshaw's record-breaking run of 35 goals this season.

And his barren run of just one goal in the last 10 Bluebirds matches hasn't changed a thing.

In fact, far from worrying himself silly about where his next goal is coming from, Earnshaw seems more relaxed than at any other stage of the season going into Cardiff's big Millennium Stadium showdown with QPR on Sunday.

As he sat side by side with his big mate Danny Gabbidon at a Ninian Park Press conference yesterday, Earnshaw spent most of the time chortling and cracking wisecracks.

They started when he was asked if that 2am go-to-bed time had changed as a result of the lack of goals.
Full story.