Trevor: J Will Recover

Trevor Brooking is backing Jermain Defoe to come through his difficult spell - and insists he is committed to the club.

Jermain, of course, earned a straight red on top of his yellow card on Saturday at Gillingham, and the next day one newspaper returned to what was a recurring - if misguided - theme of the young striker supposedly on his way to Manchester United.

It did not happen in the summer, as was claimed it would, and Trevor does not see it happening in January either.

"I think more than anything he is committed to us this season and from the fans' point of view I am sure they will get behind him and help him through the sort of spell everyone goes through," says Trevor.

"He is only a youngster and it is all part of the learning process.

"As much as anything he will want to score for the club and try and get us in that promotion race so I think more than anything it is time to get behind him.

"Yes, it has been a difficult spell but hopefully he will get a lot of goals for us in this division."

And Trevor admits the service to the forwards could have been better, adding: "We didn't pick up the pieces so we didn't get the supply to him early enough.

"They are areas we want to work with him on so he becomes a better player.

"He is learning all the time and hopefully he will gradually progress to the player we all know he will end up being, a senior international."

Trevor hopes that Neil Mellor will be available for at least the bench, and adds: "He had tonsilitis the morning of the Gillingham game and has been in bed but he is travelling with us.

"Playing 90 minutes would probably be a lot to ask, but I hope to have him available for Cardiff tonight, and he should be available by the time the games next week come round."

Despite reports, Niclas Alexandersson IS cup-tied and does not travel to Ninian Park.

The last time the two clubs met was 1981, in a match that ended in stalemate.