Stephen McPhail admits Cardiff City play-off nerves

Stephen McPhail
Stephen McPhail hopes to face former side Leeds United.

Stephen McPhail admits nerves are playing a part as Cardiff City's play-off mission approaches its conclusion.

A victory against Leeds Untied at home on Saturday will see Cardiff reach the end of season play-offs for a third year in a row.

And McPhail, 32, has urged his Cardiff team-mates to focus on points and not performances as they look to beat his former side Leeds to book their place.

"Everyone's nervous, we can feel it in the crowd," said McPhail.

"This time of year points are the most important thing, not performances."

The Republic of Ireland international midfielder broke into the Leeds side in 1998 under then manager David O'Leary, and featured in the run to the Champions League semi-finals with appearances against Lazio and Barcelona.

McPhail, who moved to Cardiff in 2006, says he has fond memories of his time at Elland Road but will put that aside as Cardiff strive to secure Premier League promotion after two previous play-off failures.

"I started there at 15 and had nine maybe ten years," said McPhail, who made 78 appearances for Leeds.

"It was a great time up there but I'm at Cardiff now and I've loved every minute of it.

"I'll be doing my best to beat them on Saturday."

Cardiff moved a step closer to achieving their play-off goal with a 2-0 victory over Derby County, a win that means only seventh-placed Middlesbrough or eigth-placed Hull can deny them with just two games of the regular season remaining.

Tony Mowbray's Middesbrough side are four points adrift while Hull are a further two behind, and both have an inferior goal difference.

"Hopefully this year it's going to happen for us," added McPhail.

"We're in great form with three wins out of four. Our performances could have been better these last couple of games but they'll come, there's no doubt."

West Ham, Birmingham and Blackpool are the other sides in play-off contention but McPhail is not concerned who Cardiff face if they reach the end of season shootout.

"It doesn't matter," he said. "The play-offs are a lottery as we all know.

"We've just got to get over the line and then worry about who we get."

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