Mark Hudson and Stephen McPhail fitness doubts for final

Mark Hudson
Hudson will have his ankle checked out on the eve of the final

Carling Cup final: Cardiff v Liverpool

Venue:
Wembley
Date:
Sunday, 26 February
Kick-off:
1600 GMT
Coverage:
Live TV coverage on BBC1 & BBC1 HD, live audio commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live; live text commentary on BBC Sport website.

Captain Mark Hudson and midfielder Stephen McPhail are 'touch and go' for Sunday's Carling Cup final against Liverpool at Wembley.

Both players will have fitness tests in London on Saturday ahead of the game, although Hudson (calf) is confident he will make the clash.

"I've been working hard this week and I hope to be fit," confirmed Hudson.

"I have to prove my fitness or there is no point going up there if I'm not doing justice to the team or myself."

Added the captain, who missed the game at Ispwich, added: "I do really hope to be fit and I'm feeling quite good. It's been a long time out.

"This week has been good and hopefully I can cross that line."

Manager Malky Mackay has confirmed both are 'touch and go' to make the final.

McPhail has turned to doctors to help control the onset of his Sjogren's Syndrome and has missed the Bluebirds' last four matches.

Meanwhile, goalkeeper Tom Heaton is expected to take his place at the back after suffering an ankle problem.

"I've had a slight knock with my ankle a couple of weeks ago but I've trained properly this morning so I'm back to 100% thankfully," Heaton told the BBC.

"It was a bit worrying at the time but... I'm available for selection."

Heaton, Cardiff's penalty shoot-out hero in the semi-final win over Crystal Palace, has had to play second fiddle to Scotland international David Marshall in the Bluebirds' Championship campaign this year.

But Cardiff boss Malky Mackay has given Heaton his chance in the cup competitions.

The high point of the season so far came in the second leg of their Carling Cup semi-final against Palace.

Trailing 1-0 from the first leg at Selhurst Park, Cardiff ripped into their visitors and levelled the tie after just seven minutes of the return at the Cardiff City Stadium.

A flowing move down the right saw Don Cowie unleash a powerful cross that Palace's Anthony Gardner inadvertently headed into his own net as he tried to clear.

But the game then remained locked in a stalemate that even extra time could not decide.

In the penalty shoot-out to decide who would meet ultimitely meet Liverpool in the final, Kenny Miller stepped up first for Cardiff only to blaze over the crossbar.

But Heaton turned the tide back Cardiff's way by saving Palace's first two penalties from Jermaine Easter and Sean Scannell, booking his side's fourth trip to Wembley in as many years.

Despite that, the lack of first-team outings in the league has seen Heaton spend too many afternoons for his liking warming the Bluebirds' bench.

"On a personal note, this season has been incredibly frustrating," Heaton told the BBC's Radio Wales Sport programme.

"The cup competitions have been my golden ticket really and an opportunity to play and I've thoroughly enjoyed that.

"Obviously when you get an opportunity you try and take it with both hands and I've certainly tried to do that this year.

"The team has been doing really well and Dave Marshall has been excellent this year to be honest

"So sometimes you have to look at the bigger picture and be professional about it and take it on the chin.

"But obviously day in, day out I'm pushing to get in the team and that won't change."

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