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Rupert Wyman 16th May 2011 - 9:36

Harte can put Bri on a high

Cardiff will be desperate to improve on their last home outing, a 3-0 loss to Middlesbrough. The result cost them a shot at automatic promotion and if they are to play with the elite in the Premier League next season, they must beat Reading at home.

The fans will be desperate to reach Wembley, in the 2007-08 season they lost 1-0 to Portsmouth in the FA Cup Final.  Cardiff are 13/10 to win in ninety minutes, the draw is 21/20 and Reading are 7/4.

Dave Jones has to make one of the biggest decisions of his managerial career pre-match.  Their on-loan skipper Bellamy limped off the pitch after only seventeen minutes of the goalless first leg. He may still be fatigued and if he does play and Cardiff beat Reading, he may not make the final.

The first leg was nail biting and this clash is almost too close to call. I would stay away from the ninety minute markets. The first leg was a tight affair but McDermott has already stated that Reading will go to Wales on the front foot and go for a win.

Over 2/5 goals is 23/20 and both teams will attack from the off. The first leg was a tight cautious affair but this leg should open-up. Both teams to score is 10/11 and there is plenty of quality Championship attacking talent on display.

If Bellamy starts, if he is on-form, he can take the Royals apart. He is the best player on the pitch and he could play for most Premier League clubs. It is his love for his hometown club that has taken him to the Bluebirds. He is 11/2 to score first and 6/4 anytime goalscorer.

His strike partner Bothroyd has represented England whilst playing at Championship level and he could definitely make a mark at the highest level. He is 11/2 first goalscorer and he has scored eighteen times in the league this season.

If you fancy another low-scoring affair, the 0-0 is 8/1 but that looks too short. Cardiff have conceded twenty-five goals at home in the league this season and they have scored forty-one. It may be the play-offs but the 0-0 score-line looks unlikely.

Cardiff's Mcphail will know all about the attacking qualities of his former teammate at Leeds, Ian Harte. Reading's Harte is deadly from set-pieces, he may not be the player of old but he can still whip in a frère-kick.

He is Reading's second top-goalscorer in the league with eleven goals and he is 5/1 to score anytime. That looks a big price for a player that is guaranteed to take free-kicks in the Cardiff half.

The Match Winner is for the game to go to penalties at the enhanced price of 6/1. If the game is as cagey as the first leg, then there is every chance the game will be decided by penalties.

The atmosphere should be terrific and Cardiff have home advantage but you can forget that and form in the play-offs, it is more like a lottery. Take the 23/20 for over the goals, with the wealth of attacking talent on display, there should be goals in an end-to-end display.



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