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Page last updated at 06:43 GMT, Thursday, 1 October 2009 07:43 UK

McPhail hopes to keep out Ledley

Stephen McPhail (right) challenges Derby's Robbie Savage
Stephen McPhail (right) was once club captain of Cardiff City

Stephen McPhail hopes his starring role in Cardiff City's 6-1 demolition of Derby can keep Wales midfielder Joe Ledley out of the side to face Watford.

The Irish midfielder played a key part in four of the Bluebirds' six goals on Tuesday and McPhail was hailed by four-goal hero Michael Chopra.

McPhail returned from a three-match ban for the suspended Ledley and now hopes to keep out Cardiff's talisman.

"I felt I had something to prove on Tuesday," McPhail said.

One-time captain McPhail has often suffered the wrath of the Cardiff faithful - especially after getting dismissed in both south Wales derby draws with Swansea City last season.

But the 29-year-old's performance at the Cardiff City Stadium on Tuesday night was applauded by home fans as he had a hand in the first, fourth, fifth and sixth goals.

"I was disappointed getting sent off at Reading and I was desperate to get back into the team," said McPhail.

Highlights - Cardiff 6-1 Derby

Cardiff 6-1 Derby

"I knuckled down, kept my head down and had a point to prove.

"I don't want to let Joe back in, it is as simple as that.

"I've been out too many times and I've taken it on the chin. But I know I've got to keep performing as the central midfield position is the one with the most players."

Cardiff travel to Vicarage Road on Saturday without a win at Watford since October 1970 and Ledley, who was dismissed after his two yellow cards in their defeat at Sheffield Wednesday, is available again to boss Dave Jones.

But he joked: "I might not get back into the team, credit to the boys as they played some good football against Derby."

Ledley has not been dropped since breaking into the Cardiff first-team as a teenager back in 2004 and both he and McPhail are battling to play alongside Gavin Rae in the Bluebirds midfield.

Michael Chopra
When Chopra makes those runs, you don't have to be gifted to pick him out

Cardiff midfielder Stephen McPhail

Hotshot Chopra's second four-goal haul of his career took his season's tally to 12 goals in 13 games and the City striker praised McPhail's impact.

"I've built a good link-up with Macca over the years," said Chopra.

"I know when Macca gets the ball, he will always try to find me. So all I've got to do is find a bit of space and he'll get the ball to me."

And McPhail added: "When Chopra makes those runs, you don't have to be gifted to pick him out.

"He's very clever in what he does and we can pick him out. I know what he is all about and if he keeps making those runs, I'll try to find him as much as I can."

Cardiff had won just once in five league games before they hit Derby for six and now Cardiff manager Dave Jones' men, who once topped the Championship, are desperate to go on a run to move up from fifth place.


"There's no point doing this tonight and not doing it again on Saturday," Chopra told BBC Sport after Cardiff's win over Derby.

Ledley revealed harsh words from Jones before Tuesday was the "kick up the backside" Cardiff needed as, "we know when we're not playing well and we weren't".

Now McPhail added: "We're desperate to prove that we can get out of this league.

"We have had a few meetings about our attitude and getting out of the ruts of the last couple of weeks, so to beat Derby so convincingly was a big pat on the back.

"Now we must go to Watford and get back to back wins.

"If we stop conceding silly goals, stand up and be counted and not get too carried away, we might be able to challenge for promotion."

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see also
Chopra delight at four-star haul
30 Sep 09 |  Cardiff
Cardiff 6-1 Derby
29 Sep 09 |  Championship
Chopra urges Cardiff improvement
28 Sep 09 |  Cardiff
McPhail red card appeal dismissed
18 Sep 09 |  Cardiff
Reading 0-1 Cardiff
16 Sep 09 |  Championship
BBC Sport Wales coverage
03 Oct 11 |  Wales

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