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Premier the place for me, insists City's hotshot Jay.

CARDIFF CITY striker Jay Bothroyd has admitted attitude problems in the past stopped him becoming an established Premiership player.

The 27-year-old, who began as a promising trainee at Arsenal, will lead the line tomorrow as the Bluebirds look to overcome Nottingham Forest and move to the top of the Championship.

It is still early days, but if Cardiff can gain promotion Bothroyd believes the top flight is where he and a number of his Bluebirds team-mates belong.

"I definitely feel there are players at this club who should be in the Premiership and I include myself in that," said Bothroyd, who has been playing through the pain barrier of a hairline fracture to his kneecap. "But we are where we are for a reason. My reason is not about my ability or my footballing talent, it's been about my attitude and mentality.

"I was maybe selfish when I was younger, but, as you grow up, you change as a person. Ultimately I feel that has brought the best out of me now. I've come to Cardiff, I've changed as a footballer and I've become more consistent."

It is those performances which have suddenly put Bothroyd, who mainly under-achieved at a succession of clubs before arriving in the Welsh capital, back on the radar of the game's bigger guns.

Reports recently suggested Bothroyd has aroused the interest of Martin O'Neill at Aston Villa, though the striker is taking such suggestions with a pinch of salt.

"It is flattering, It's good to hear that because it means you are doing well, but I'm concentrating on what I'm doing at Cardiff," he said. "I don't want to get carried away. I'm happy here, I'm enjoying every day. But if you do well, not just me, but all the players, there's going to be people coming to watch you.

"I want to play at the highest level as soon as possible. I hope to do that with Cardiff."

Bothroyd took his goals tally to four for the season with the first in Cardiff's 4-3 win at Sheffield United last weekend. It was a result which gave manager Dave Jones' side an excellent 13-point return from the last 15 on offer.

But if the Bluebirds are to add three more to that tomorrow they must overcome a Forest side in excellent form under boss Billy Davies. They have won their last five league games and are unbeaten away from home since a 5-0 trouncing at Premiership-bound Burnley back in March.

Bothroyd insisted he was expecting a tough battle.

"We've got some good results. We had a good one at Sheffield United and hopefully we can continue that against Forest," he ad-ded. "We had a couple of tough games against them last year. We beat them both times so they have got some unfinished business with us. But I think they will be more worried about us than we are about them. We are on a good run all round, we look pretty solid and everything is looking good.

"We are all pulling in the right direction and we want to get promoted this season. But I don't care about the table right now. It's all about what's happening at the back of the season. It would be nice to be top, nice for the fans, but that's about it right now."

Jones himself is singing from the same hymnsheet as his striker ahead of Forest and was also keen to dampen expectation. But the Bluebirds boss admitted confidence was high with Cardiff the Championship's top scorers.

"Everybody thrives on confidence and at the moment the place is awash with that," said Jones. "We are scoring goals, goals from all areas, and that is nice. They are on fire at the moment. But there's no magic formula, they are all just working hard. No-one is getting carried away it's just a matter of us keeping things ticking along."

The game will see a first return to Cardiff for Welsh international full-back Chris Gunter, who left the Bluebirds for Tottenham Hotspur in January 2008.

Unable to break through at White Hart Lane, he moved to Forest in the summer.

Jones said he felt the move to Spurs had perhaps come too early for the 20-year-old.

"Chrissy did well here. He got a fantastic move to Tottenham, but it's a big club and they demand success virtually straight away," said Jones.

"Chrissy was only a young player, he was only in the early stages of breaking into our first team. It didn't really work out for him.

"But that's the end of it. We don't employ him anymore."

Another former Bluebird, Robert Earnshaw is out with a calf injury.

Cardiff go into tomorrow's game with defender Kevin McNaughton ruled out with a calf injury and Tony Capaldi is also out with a back problem.

Kelvin Etuhu, on loan from Manchester City, could be back with the Bluebirds during the forthcoming international break after making good progress with an ankle ligament injury.

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AIMING HIGH: Cardiff City's Jay Bothroyd believes he and his team-mates are good enough to be promoted to the Premier League
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Oct 31, 2009
Words:856
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