Reading and Cardiff City go head to head in the second of the npower Championship Play-Off matches tonight with both sides having experienced the Play-Offs in recent years.

The Royals finished fourth in 2009 and met Burnley over two legs, at the semi-final stage, eventually losing 3-0 on aggregate before the Clarets went on to secure their promotion with a 1-0 win over Sheffield United at Wembley.

The Bluebirds went one better last season when they reached the Play-Off final after beating Leicester City in a penalty shoot-out, after the semi-finals ended 3-3 on aggregate.

Despite taking the lead twice at Wembley, Dave Jones' side were beaten 3-2 by Blackpool and he is hoping that experience could be the key.

Speaking to he said:"Last year we came close having reached the final, but that's history now. To the present we are focused, more than ever.

"Our job is to join together for one last push to get past that final hurdle of the Play-Offs and I have every confidence that we can do just that to deliver the dream."

Reading go into the match with just one defeat in their last 14 matches, a run that included an impressive 10 victories and earned Manager Brian McDermott the npower Championship Manager of the Month award for April.

McDermott, in his first full season in charge at the Madejski Stadium, has admitted he can't wait for kick off: , "The players are ready, they are focused and Friday can't come quickly enough, to be honest. I'm sure Cardiff feel the same," he told

"As a group we've spoken about what's required, and one of the most important things is to enjoy it. We'll be ready.

"We had two great games. It's football, we want to win, so do they, that's what it's all about. We want to play our football, that's it.

"We want to beat them, they want to beat us, we want to get to Wembley. What happened in the past is gone. Both games will have a great atmosphere - it's all to play for."

Cardiff's current form isn't quite so good, with just five wins from their last 12 matches; they are also without a win in their last two after losing 3-0 at home to Middlesbrough before needing a last gasp goal at Burnley to secure a point at Burnley.

But form will count for nothing when the game kicks off on Friday and the Manager believes they have enough to overcome Reading: "We still have a great chance to get promoted and I believe that we have what it takes to make the most of the opportunity.

"We have firmly put the season behind us and as a club we are totally focused on the game against Reading on Friday night.

"We know what we have to do and the squad holds no fear going to Reading. In fact, we're all really looking forward to the next two games and are very confident in what we can achieve. We'll go there in the right frame of mind knowing that over two legs we have a great chance if we play to our strengths, of which we have many."


Both meetings between the two sides this season have ended all square but something will have to give over the next 180 minutes.

The first match came in November at the Madejski Stadium when Jay Bothroyd's 77th minute strike cancelled out Noel Hunt's early opener.

The return match at the Cardiff City Stadium, at the beginning of February, saw two goals scored deep in injury time.

Mikele Leigertwood opened the scoring for the visitors before Bothroyd equalised just after the restart. Mathieu Manset, on as a second half substitute for the Royals, thought he'd given his side all three points when he scored his first goal for the club. But there was still time for Craig Bellamy to equalise seven minutes into injury time.

Historically there is nothing to separate these sides either, with both teams having won 19 of the 55 meetings, while 17 have ended all square.

For all the latest news on Reading please click here

For all the latest news on Cardiff City please click here