Gardner wants cup glory

Blues hero wants to end more than 50 years without a trophy

Gardner: Delighted to be in final

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Birmingham midfielder Craig Gardner hopes that the club can win the Carling Cup to shake off a nearly-men tag.

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It is the first time the Blues have reached Wembley for 55 years, despite appearing in the League Cup final 10 years ago when they lost to Liverpool.

Their last appearance was in the 1956 FA Cup final, when they lost to Manchester City, and they have had to live in the shadow of city rivals Aston Villa ever since.

Local boy and lifelong fan Gardner scored the winner in extra time to see his side through 4-3 on aggregate against West Ham on Wednesday to set up a date with Arsenal.

Gardner was obviously delighted with the achievement and hopes they would step it up to finally win a trophy the supporters crave.

"To get your team to Wembley, the one you've been supporting since you were a boy, and scoring the winning goal, you can't ask for anything more," he said.

"It's unbelievable. It's a dream come true and I have dedicated the goal to every single Blues fan.

"I am expecting a baby as well in May, my first, so I am buzzing about that as well. It's a great time for me.

"To be fair, growing up as a supporter, and with all your friends being fans, they always say that we are a nearly club.

New leaf

"But with getting to the final we proved that we have turned over a new leaf and we can make that extra step.

"We've come into the Premier League and held our own for two seasons.

"We were aware of the chance of it being our first major final at Wembley for 55 years going into the game and we've achieved it."

The 23-year-old former Villa man also issued a warning to the Gunners that they were not going to be a pushover for the season's first domestic showpiece.

He added: "We are going there as underdogs but we are a team that will never fold, will never give up, and we will give 100 per cent whoever we play.

"We have nothing to lose but we are going to pass it, we are going to play, we are going to give Arsenal respect for who they are.

"But we are not going to give them any respect playing-wise. We will be in their faces like we are in everyone's faces.

"Arsenal are a great team but we are going to go there and run our socks off and make it difficult for them.

"Anything can happen on the day."