Paddy McCarthy has been through a lot at Crystal Palace, but victory in Cardiff on Tuesday will be the sweetest moment of it all.

The Eagles go to Wales for the second leg of their Carling Cup semi-final holding a 1-0 advantage and in pole position for their first appearance in a major cup final since 1990.

It is remarkable turnaround in fortunes for a club that was staring into the abyss of extinction a little over 18 months ago before CPFC 2010 saved them from administration just as it looked like they would be forced to close.

Sine then, the Eagles' fortunes have been transformed with Dougie Freedman at the helm and captain McCarthy believes a Carling Cup final secured almost exactly two years after they went into administration would be just deserts for all they have battled through.

"It would be massive to get to the final," he said.

"I am delighted the club is moving forward and everything is changing.

"Standards are being raised and everyone is buying into that, not just the players on the pitch, but the staff around the club as well.

"We have had a lot of nerve-wracking nights at Selhurst Park over the last few years and to have nights like the first leg last Tuesday and at Manchester United, Brighton and Millwall, is great for us as players.

"We love to send the fans home smiling with something to sing about and be happy about coming to support Crystal Palace, because this club deserves to be in the position it is in at the moment.

"It is not nice as player when you are in administration, not getting paid from one month to another but I think you see all the lads stuck together.

"That's the great thing about this club, everyone stuck together when it was in administration and nobody dropped their heads.

"We all fought tooth and nail to keep this club in the championship and then along came the new owners who are four Crystal Palace men at heart who have supported the club since they were boys.

"You couldn't ask for better owners in charge and you have Dougie Freedman who has been here as a player and coach and seen it all and then Tony Popovic and Lennie Lawrence, everyone has that affiliation with the club and it is in a fantastic position to move forward.

"I am immensely proud leading this team out everywhere as I can see how hard the lads are working for each other but the ultimate goal is to lead them out at Wembley."

Because of Anthony Gardner's first-leg goal last Tuesday, Palace need only keep a clean sheet to progress but McCarthy insists they won't be sitting back at the Cardiff City Stadium.

"A clean sheet wins the game but we can't go there and be negative," he added.

"We know Cardiff are capable of scoring goals so we will go and approach it like we do every game.

"We will have a game plan and the management trio have been second to none all season from that point of view.

"Dougie has organised us fantastically this season and we have every trust in him and the coaching staff we will have the right game plan to win the game in Cardiff."