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Page last updated at 15:24 GMT, Wednesday, 29 April 2009 16:24 UK

Purse dismisses Cardiff jitters

Darren Purse
Darren Purse was one of Dave Jones' first Cardiff City signings in 2005

Captain Darren Purse insists Cardiff City are not suffering the play-off jitters and backs the Bluebirds to secure a top six Championship spot.

Dave Jones' team need a point at Sheffield Wednesday on Sunday to confirm a play-off place for a shot at promotion to the Premier League.

Fifth-placed Cardiff have won just one point in their last three games but Purse says they can handle the heat.

"We're not panicking, the lads can cope with the mental pressure," he said.

Cardiff's nervy promotion push is reminiscent of their 2002/03 campaign when the big-spending Bluebirds eventually won League One promotion after a dramatic play-off final win over QPR at The Millennium Stadium.

Lennie Lawrence's team then won just two points from a possible 15 during their play-off run-in six years ago but managed to revive their form to beat Bristol City in a two-legged play-off semi-final before defeating QPR.

Club skipper Purse hopes Cardiff's class of 2009 enjoy play-off deja vu and secure the necessary point at Hillsborough on Sunday as Jones' team have been virtual top-six ever-presents since October.

But Cardiff could suffer play-off heartbreak if they lose at Sheffield Wednesday and sixth-placed Burnley beat Bristol City at Turfmoor and seventh-placed Preston North End defeat QPR at Deepdale.

Dave Jones and Peter Ridsdale
I hope Sunday's game will not be my last for Cardiff City. I've been told by the manager and the chairman I have to wait until the end of the season to sort out my future

Cardiff City captain Darren Purse

Purse is pleased Cardiff's destiny remains in their own hands as the Welsh club push for the £60m jackpot of promotion to the top-flight to play teams like Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea.

"The positive thing is that we're in control of our own destiny," said the 32-year-old centre-back.

"We've players who have experience of pressure games; Stephen McPhail, Mark Kennedy and I have played in play-offs before while Gavin Rae has played in Old Firm derbies.

"There are a few lads who have not played in pressurised end-of-season games when you are fighting for play-offs - but there isn't much these lads can't handle.

"It is going to get tough and we must play percentage football.

"We thoroughly deserve to be in this position. There has been a lot of negativity after the last three games because we haven't won but we were awesome in the previous 42 games.

"Maybe we don't deserve the criticism recently but we need people to get behind us as we're in a fantastic position

"If we were going to Sheffield Wednesday at any other point in the season other than the last game, people would have backed us to get a least a point.

"We're confident that we can see this out."


Purse has been involved in four play-off campaigns with Birmingham City, three times as a winner and once as a loser.

The former England under-21 international is out of contract at Ninian Park at the end of the season and his future is uncertain.

Purse and Jones clashed earlier in the season after the Cardiff boss criticised the defender but the Bluebirds rejected a January bid from Norwich for him.

"I hope Sunday's game will not be my last for Cardiff City," said Purse, who joined Cardiff from West Bromwich Albion in 2005.

"I've been told by the manager and the chairman I have to wait until the end of the season to sort out my future, I hope my Cardiff career isn't coming to an end but I don't really want to talk about it."

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see also
Sheffield Wed v Cardiff City
30 Apr 09 |  Championship
Purse staying at Cardiff - Jones
30 Jan 09 |  Cardiff
Purse hits back at Cardiff boss
29 Sep 08 |  Cardiff
Cardiff captain in boss Jones row
29 Sep 08 |  Wales
Purse aims to seal Cardiff future
10 Sep 08 |  Cardiff
Skipper Purse commits to Cardiff
07 Jul 07 |  Cardiff
Purse heads triple Cardiff swoop
28 Jul 05 |  Cardiff
Baggies snatch Purse
18 Jun 04 |  West Brom
Cardiff 0-3 Ipswich
25 Apr 09 |  Championship
Ninian farewell falls flat
26 Apr 09 |  Cardiff
Ridsdale's hint at Cardiff future
24 Apr 09 |  Cardiff
BBC Sport Wales coverage
03 Oct 11 |  Wales

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