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First Team

Hot Off The Press: Cardiff City

Glen Williams of Wales Online previews Saturday's game

28 February 2020

At the time of speaking, Cardiff sit 10th in the Sky Bet Championship table, largely thanks to their admirable home form, which has seen them lose just twice in 17 outings. What have you made of what you’ve seen this season?

It's been a frustrating season for Cardiff City fans. A sluggish start under Neil Warnock preceded a little surge under Neil Harris, before the form dipped slightly again around Christmas time. Then there was another really positive run of results, which saw the Bluebirds go seven games undefeated, but they are now winless in their last three games. They have done well in fits and starts and have flirted with those play-off places pretty much all season, but their current league standing is a pretty fair reflection of how they've played all season.

Given how tight the promotion race remains, we seem to be asking the same question to every journalist at the moment: Do you think Cardiff have what it takes to reach the play-offs?

That is a tricky question, because it is all so congested up there. In all honesty, I don't think Cardiff have enough to be a Premier League team, but it also wouldn't surprise me if they put a run together to force their way into the play-off reckoning. It's all a little vexed at the Cardiff City Stadium at present and I can't quite put my finger on why.

Before the return fixture at the tail end of last year, you said there’d been a mixed reaction to Neil Harris’ appointment. Do you think they would have been anywhere near where they are at the moment without him?

Well, who's to say a different manager wouldn't have come in and done even better? If they continued under Warnock, however, I think it would have been a downward spiral. I think Warnock had just lost that spark and it was the right time for a change. Harris has had spells where his team have looked solid, then others where they look bereft of ideas. He has certainly tightened them up, defensively, as a unit, but they are just lacking that cutting edge at present. 

Which player should Brentford fans be wary of on Saturday afternoon?

Usually I would say Lee Tomlin, but the Bluebirds were dealt a devastating blow last week when the club announced he would be out for most of the rest of the season owing to a knee injury. In Tomlin's absence, Josh Murphy is arguably the greatest attacking threat and recently went on a run of scoring five goals in six games.

He notoriously blows hot and cold, though.

How are the Bluebirds likely to set up?

Cardiff City’s likely lineup is as follows: Smithies; Sanderson, Nelson, Morrison, Bennett; Pack, Vaulks, Ralls; Hoilett, Paterson, Murphy

Brentford edged the meeting earlier in the season, but what’s your score prediction for this one?

It is going to be a huge test for Cardiff and this is a game this cannot lose. I think it will be a 2-2 draw.

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