Cowie wants to lift spirits

Mackay expects fitting tribute to be paid to Speed

Don Cowie: Wants to give Wales a lift by beating Blackburn in the Carling Cup

Cardiff midfielder Don Cowie is determined to give the sporting nation of Wales a lift by beating Blackburn in the Carling Cup quarter-finals.

Wales has been rocked by Sunday's death of national team manager Gary Speed, with tributes pouring in from all over the world as the game mourns the former Leeds, Everton, Newcastle, Bolton and Sheffield United midfielder.

And Cowie hopes the Bluebirds can give a boost to morale by reaching the last four of the competition for the first time since 1966.

"Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Gary Speed. Gary is someone I have never come across in my career, but when I heard the news I was shocked and I'm sure everyone who has worked with him would have been devastated," he said.

"Hopefully we can go out on Tuesday night and reach the Carling Cup semi-finals and give everyone's spirits a lift."

Headaches

The Bluebirds will be quietly confident of claiming a Premier League scalp, with Blackburn sitting bottom of the table with just seven points from 13 games.

Cardiff, on the other hand, are on an excellent unbeaten run of seven games which has seen them climb to third in the Championship.

And former Watford player Cowie is determined to make sure that under-fire Rovers boss Steve Kean has more headaches to worry him after the Cardiff City Stadium contest.

"We are confident, we have had a good run recently and we have nothing to lose," he said. "It will be a great occasion and I am sure the fans will turn out in numbers and get behind us

"They are in a sticky spell, things have not gone as planed and hopefully we can take advantage of that.

Role

"Even if they were on a good run, we are on a good run ourselves. We are confident that whatever team the manager decides to play everyone knows their role and hopefully we can go out and do our job."

Mackay is set to field his strongest available side on Tuesday, with the Scot set to make a late decision on the availability of Mark Hudson as the centre-half nears a return from a hamstring problem.

And the Cardiff boss says the club will pay their respects to Speed before kick-off.

"I'm sure the correct tribute and respect will be paid towards Gary," he said.

"Our fans are fantastic. They will do exactly what I think [they'll do] in terms of tributes, be it silence or applause."

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