Championship Preview: Barnsley V Cardiff City

New Cardiff City Manager Mick McCarthy will face hometown club Barnsley in his first game in charge of the welsh club. The new Cardiff boss played 314 times for the club where he stared his playing career.

McCarthy takes over from Neil Harris at Cardiff after a run of six defeats saw the club make the chance in manager. Barnsley have three wins and three defeats from their last six games. However in their last match in the FA Cup the host beat Championship leaders Norwich City 1-0 at Oakwell thanks to a Callum Styles goal.

Recent Meetings

Cardiff ran out three nil winners when the side meet in November at Cardiff City Stadium. Cardiff won the corresponding fixture last season by two goals to nil.

History favours The Bluebirds who have won the last five meetings of the teams.

Barnsley last win against City was in December 2012 in a thrilling game which ended 4-3 to The Tykes. Barnsley lead 3-1 at half time before Peter Whittingham pulled a goal back and Antony Pilkington levelled in the 89th minute. Ryan Williams got a winner for the visitors in fifth minute of added time.

Team News

Jordan Williams has returned to train today but this match may come too soon for the defender. Liam Kitching has had a set back recovering from a groin issue with Barnsley manager Valerian Ismael saying:

 “We have to completely reduce the intensity and build up slowly. We want to get him back as soon as possible because we have a lot of games but we don’t want to take any risks. We hope he will be back in two or three weeks but we don’t want to put pressure on him.”

New Cardiff forward Max Watters is a doubt after pulling out of training on Monday. Its a blow for the new signing. Lee Tomlin is still out with a long term injury. Greg Cunningham is back fit and available for this game.

Managers Thoughts

Barnsley manager Ismael has told the media he’s looking forward to the challenge of facing off against McCarthy:

 “I know he is a Barnsley guy. I am very delighted to face such a big manager, with his experience. It’s a big challenge. 

“It’s never easy to prepare a game when a new manager has come. But it is clear in this situation. We know exactly the way Cardiff plays football and I don’t think the new manager will take them in another direction.

“It will be a fight, all about the set pieces and the second ball and the desire to win the game. It will be a completely different game than against Norwich. We will be ready.

“I learned you need to have flexibility in your way to play football and which players to choose for the Championship. It was, for me, the breakthrough in the Championship because, after 90 minutes, I learned almost everything of what you need in the Championship. Since that game, we have developed the squad and the team. We are not finished, it is always a process, but we made big steps. 

“If you look at the starting 11 last time and this time, it will be a completely different team. We have a different mindset now. We are very happy with our performance, but we are unhappy with the points in the last games. It is all about getting the points now against Cardiff.” 

Cardiff manager McCarthy spoke at his pre match press briefing about the need to pick the players up, and bringing some confidence back:

How do you get confidence back into them? A solid team performance and getting results. Nothing else gets it back. They might enjoy training, it might be a bit more fun. I’ve been there when you’re losing games. It’s hard to come in with smiles on your face. So if the last two days have been a bit lighter and they enjoy it, it will only continue with a result against Barnsley. Then it’s Millwall. It all hinges on results, there’s no doubt about that.

“We’ve got to stop getting beaten. That’s first and foremost, and you do that by having a solid shape. That’s no disrespect to anybody else. When you get beat, you start to get a bit fragmented on the pitch and they look around and start blaming each other.

“I saw a bit of that in the first training session. But it can’t be one man’s fault. You can’t just blame Neil Harris. If you’re in that state where you’ve lost seven games in a row, if you concede, you see players drop straight away. We’re going to have to organise against Barnsley and a real solid performance. Only on the back of those will we get confidence back.”

Key Players

For Barnsley Callum Styles who scored as they beat Norwich in the FA Cup will be key. The midfielder has four goals and two assists so far this season. He also has four man of the match awards and a whoscored.com rating of 6.96.

Cardiff will be looking for Kieffer Moore to return to the form he was in before being out with an injury. The Wales and Cardiff striker has eight goals this season and ranks second in the Championship player ratings on whoscored.com with a rating of 7.52.

Prediction; Barnsley 0 v 1 Cardiff

New Managers normally mean a upturn in performances. McCarthy will have his Cardiff side organised and working hard. Barnsley will have more of the ball as Cardiff look to go back to basics.

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