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Page last updated at 06:25 GMT, Tuesday, 18 May 2010 07:25 UK

Boss Dave Jones' Wembley pitch warning to Cardiff

Coca Cola Championship play-off final - Blackpool v Cardiff City
Venue: Wembley Stadium Date: Saturday, 22 May Kick-off: 1500 BST
Coverage: Full commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live & online, BBC Radio Wales and BBC Radio Cymru, live text commentary online and score updates on BBC Sport website and highlights on The Football League Show

Dave Jones
Dave Jones is the Championship's longest-serving manager

Dave Jones has told his Cardiff City players must not use the under-fire Wembley surface as an excuse in Saturday's Championship play-off.

Chelsea skipper John Terry criticised the pitch after his side lifted the FA Cup by beating Portsmouth last weekend.

Cardiff face Blackpool in the next game at Wembley as the clubs aim for a £90m jackpot of Premier League promotion.

"We can't do anything about it so we'll just have to get on with it," said Jones. "We won't blame the surface."

The Championship play-off final has been billed as the most lucrative one-off fixture in world football due to the financial boost to a club winning promotion to the top-flight.

The controversial Wembley pitch has been much maligned since the £750m stadium opened in 2007 and Chelsea and England star Terry hit out at the 11th pitch after Saturday's FA Cup final.

"It was not good enough for a Wembley pitch," said Chelsea captain Terry after his club's 1-0 win.

"It ruined the final and was the worst pitch I have played on all year."

The state of Wembley's playing surface has hit the headlines in recent weeks but Jones' Championship high-fliers have played on a poor pitch all season.

Wembley pitch
The Wembley pitch has been re-laid 11 times since the 2007 FA Cup final

The threadbare Cardiff City Stadium surface has come under fire from Cardiff's own players this season as the pitch has been heavily used by the football team, the Welsh national football team and the city's rugby region Cardiff Blues, who share the new £50m ground.

"We had complaints about our ground but there was nothing we could do about it," said Jones.

"The groundsman was pulling his hair out because he had been worried."

While Jones' side may be used to playing on a poor surface, the experienced manager does not want the pitch row to detract from his side's bid to end their 48-year top-flight exile in their third Wembley visit in three years.

They last played their in 2008 when they lost 1-0 to Portsmouth in the FA Cup final.

"We all want to play at Wembley and no matter what the surface is like, we all have to play there," said Jones after his side's dramatic penalty shoot-out win over Leicester City in the play-off semi-final.

"It will be a massive occasion.

"We'll have a look at the pitch but id the pitch is a mess what are we going to do? We've got to get on with it."

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see also
Bothroyd injury cost us - Hudson
22 May 10 |  Cardiff
McPhail to repay Cardiff support
14 May 10 |  Cardiff
Terry criticises FA over Wembley
15 May 10 |  FA Cup
Chelsea 1-0 Portsmouth
15 May 10 |  FA Cup
Cardiff ready for 'biggest' game
13 May 10 |  Championship
Cardiff 2-3 Leicester (agg 3-3)
12 May 10 |  Championship
Forest 3-4 Blackpool (agg 4-6)
11 May 10 |  Championship
FA chief makes Wembley pitch vow
10 May 10 |  Football
Wembley pitch to be relaid often
19 Apr 10 |  Football
Doors finally open at new Wembley
17 Mar 07 |  London
BBC Sport Wales coverage
03 Oct 11 |  Wales

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