Cardiff City captain Mark Hudson prepared for Premier push

Cardiff City captain Mark Hudson believes running Liverpool close in the Carling Cup final can only spur them on towards Premier League promotion.

The Bluebirds held Liverpool at 2-2 before losing the enthralling Wembley showpiece 3-2 on penalties .

Currently in the play-off places, Cardiff resume their Championship campaign against West Ham on Sunday.

"That's the main aim [promotion to the Premier League] now after this is out of the way," said Hudson.

"The boys gave a good account of themselves and that's what we asked for and we did that - for 120 minutes we were really in the game and we gave them [Liverpool] a real run for their money and it was only penalties which decided it. We'll take heart from that."

We lost with dignity - Mackay

It has been a gruelling Carling Cup campaign for City with three of their six ties - Leicester , Crystal Palace and Liverpool - going to extra-time and penalties.

But despite the final taking a lot out of the players, Hudson is sure the cup run will not take anything away from the final 14 league games.

"It [the Carling Cup] hasn't distracted us at all - it's been a great ride for us. Really disappointed but we know West Ham on Sunday is going to be a great occasion and we'll be ready for that.

"We have got a couple of days off to get our heads round what's gone on.

"We have got a big game on Sunday. I don't think [it's going to be a test of character to get over this]."

The emotion of the match was summed up by Cardiff substitute Anthony Gerrard who missed the penalty which sealed Liverpool's win.

He said on Twitter: "Sorry to everyone! I can't close my eyes without seeing that penalty! It's going to haunt me for the rest of my days! Head is mashed!"

Hudson's comments back up manager Malky Mackay's belief that fifth-placed Cardiff can only kick on from their final performance.

"We can take a lot of self-belief from getting to the final of a 92-club competition and taking a team at the top of the Premier League to penalties," said Mackay.

"We have 14 games to go and we are among 10 teams who can get into those play-off positions.

"We will patch up our squad and give it the best shot we have got from now until the end of the season."