Date: 20th May 2010 at 12:54pm
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Cardiff City are without Gavin Rae and Miguel Comminges for the Championship showdown with Blackpool but expect to have McNaughton, Gerrard and Whittingham back after recent injury scares.

That means that Dave Jones’ starting XI virtually picks itself with only one position likely to cause him any sort of headache. That position is central defence and is due to the emergence of youngster Darcy Blake as a committed and assured central defender.

Blake has been in inspired form and has helped the Bluebirds on a lengthy spell of good results. City turned to Blake in a crisis, but with Hudson, Gyepes and now Anthony Gerrard all available – does Jones stick with Blake or recall one of the more experienced defenders.

Initially the question was whether Hudson could displace Gerrard or Blake for the Leicester City semi-finals. That dilemma was solved given a hamstring injury to Gerrard which saw him miss out. It now seems certain that Hudson, captain and most experienced defender in the squad (Kennedy spent most of his career in midfield) will start the final at Wembley.

A poll is open for Vital Cardiff readers to select their partner for Hudson, with in-form Blake and recently returned Gerrard the most likely contenders. The poll is open on the right side of your screen.

It would be a massive ask for Darcy. Although this is the biggest game of their careers for virtually all of the squad – Darcy has never had such a lengthy spell in the first team – never mind played in games of this importance. Gerrard’s partnership with Hudson has been shaky at times, but both have improved dramatically over the course of the season. A tricky decision for Jones, but one he much prefers to the central defence and central midfield crises of the past few months. Strangely those memories seem an eternity away as we prepare for the CHAMPIONSHIP PLAY-OFF FINAL at WEMBLEY!!!