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By ESPN Staff

Bendtner: Carling Cup a springboard

Nicklas Bendtner has challenged Arsenal to win the Carling Cup and use it as a springboard to Premier League title glory.

The Gunners are hot favourites for the trophy having been drawn against Championship strugglers Ipswich in the semi-finals - the first leg is at Portman Road on Wednesday night - with either West Ham or Birmingham awaiting them if they reach the final at Wembley.

Much has been made of Arsenal's long run without silverware, the last being the 2005 FA Cup, but Bendtner believes winning the Carling Cup next month would lead to bigger prizes.

"We need to make sure we go there and keep our run going," Bendtner said. "For me, we have to get to the final of the Carling Cup,'' Bendtner said. "It would be fantastic to win a trophy early on in the season and have something to show for our work already.

Bendtner, 23, has found himself on the fringes of the first team again this season, leading to some outspoken comments on his future before Christmas which resulted in him being left out of the squad altogether.

But he started Saturday's FA Cup tie against Leeds, playing the full 90 minutes and despite a mixed reception for what was a frustrating display in front of goal, Bendtner is again likely to be involved against Ipswich, who named Paul Jewell as Roy Keane's successor on Monday.

And the young Dane hopes his recent difficult spell is now very much behind him.

"A few things may have been interpreted not exactly the way I said them, but it is true I was disappointed because anyone who isn't playing wants to be in the team, I am no different,'' Bendtner said.

"But I think I maybe it got talked up a little too much because I also said Arsenal is the club I have been at for a long time and remains the club where I want to play.

"I believe I am good enough to play and there have never been any talks about leaving or anything like that, it is just naturally frustrating if you are not in the side and that's the same for any player.

"All you can do as a player is be patient and keep putting yourself in the manager's mind, hopefully he then picks you. After that it is your responsibility to take the chance.''


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