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Championship Preview: Cardiff City v Preston North End

Cardiff City welcome Preston to the Cardiff City Stadium on Saturday in the Championship. The Bluebirds have won their last four games and are unbeaten in six matches. The run has seen the Welsh club move to seventh in the table.

Preston, who currently sit 13th have lost three of their last six, but have won two both away from home.

Recent Meetings

Cardiff have won the last two meetings of the teams both at Deepdale. Preston have picked up a draw and win on their last two visits to Cardiff. The overall record between the side is even with 36 wins apiece and 23 draws.

Team News

New Cardiff signing Jonny Williams has trained is available to make his debut. Sheyi Ojo is also back available for selection. Lee Tomlin continues his recovery having a run out with the under 23’s.

Key players Keiffer Moore and Josh Murphy are doubts after picking up knocks in Cardiff’s win at Luton. Midfielder Joe Ralls will miss this game as he recovers from an ankle injury.

Preston will wait on the availability of midfielder Ryan Ledson who missed the visit of Watford.

Billy Bodin has picked up a knock after a troubling time with injuries.

Managers Thoughts

Cardiff manager Mick McCarthy spoke ahead of the game and was asked about Preston’s away record:

“That’s every week!

“I don’t think it matters if you’re home or away if I’m honest.

“When you’re away from home, you travel the day before and you’re in game mode from Friday, in the hotel, you’re wired for that game.

“Travelling might even have a bit of an advantage. You’re on the bus and you’re ready for the game, already thinking about it.

“It’s up to us to make sure we get another home result.”

Preston’s Alex Neil is looking forward to facing The Bluebirds and Mick McCarthy:

“They are always difficult games against Mick’s teams.

“We faced his Ipswich Town in the Play-Offs when I was at Norwich and we just managed to beat them, but if they manage to make the Play-Offs this season, they aren’t a team you want to be facing.

“Mick has been in this league for years and he knows how to get the job done.

“He has turned around Cardiff’s fortunes and they are now looking to get into the top six, but equally, we need to try and get some more points on the board as well. It is going to be an important game for both teams.

“They are riding high and will be confident, but some of our best performances have been on the road this year in terms of going and getting good results against difficult opponents.”

Key Players

Harry Wilson has four goals and seven assists this season for Cardiff. He scored the first goal as Cardiff beat Luton on Tuesday despite having had a quiet game up until then. The type of player who may be out of a game for long periods but can pull off a piece of magic at any time.

Scott Sinclair has scored eight goals this season and the former Swansea player will pose a treat to Cardiff’s wing backs. With a pass percentage of almost 80% the experienced winger will be hard to stop.

Prediction: Cardiff City 2- 1 Preston North End

This game will be tight and the first goal will be key. Cardiff have had the quality in the side all season but now look like the confidence of a top six side has returned.

Midweek Championship round up

Reading missed the chance to extend their lead at the top to six points after a second straight defeat. Second placed Swansea drew with Brentford meaning Reading still have a three point lead. Bristol City and Cardiff bonce back from weekend losses with wins. Wycombe make it two wins in two and Prestons impressive away form continues as they make it four wins from five.

Tuesdays Action

Swansea traveled to Brentford, the side that beat them in last seasons play-offs.

The Swans started brightly with Kyle Naughton and Andre Ayew testing the Bees Keeper David Raya. Brentford, however, took the lead in the 32nd minute as Ivan Toney turned in Mathias Jensens cross from close range. Swansea leveled through Ayew, who turned in Matt Grimes’ cross inside the six yard box. Swansea sit second after an impressive start whilst last years play-off finalists sit in tenth.

Swansea boss Steve Cooper thought his side deserved to win the game telling the BBC:

“We thought that we were comfortable in the game and Freddie (Woodman) didn’t have a save to make all game. Their keeper made two world class saves in the early stages.

“You wish after a performance like that coming here that it would have been three points instead of one”.

Thomas Frank told BBC Radio London:

“We didn’t play particularly well in the second half, but neither did Swansea. There was a lot of back and forth, but with their goal, we need to defend better”.

Bristol City, meanwhile, are back to winning ways after five games without one, coming from behind at Huddersfield Town. Josh Koroma gave the home side the lead two minutes from the break.

City turned the game around in the second half with goals from Jay Dasilva and Jamie Paterson. Huddersfield sit 15th in the table whilst Bristol City sit outside the play-off places on goal difference. This was a good time for Bristol to regain some form as they head to south Wales on Friday for the Severnside Derby.

Their host’s on Friday also got a win on Tuesday as Cardiff responded to Neil Harris’ criticism of them after Saturday loss to QPR. Neil Harris switched to a 4-4-2 starting with Kieffer Moore and Robert Glatzel. Junior Hoilett gave the Bluebirds the lead after four minutes skillfully bringing down Joe Bennett’s cross. Joe Ralls added a second just before the break from the spot after Harry Wilson was brought down. Wilson added a third on 77 minutes with a stunning left footed strike from outside the box. Cardiff move to 13th and Barnsley are 18th.

Sheffield Wednesday ended Bournemouth’s unbeaten start with a 1-0 victory at Hillsborough. The goal came from the spot after Josh Windass skipped around Begovic but was brought down by Steve Cook. Cook also saw a red card for the challenge. Barry Bannan calmly put the spot kick home. Wednesday held on to win despite Kadeem Harris being sent off for a rash tackle in stoppage time.

Norwich City were unable to break Millwall’s defence at Carrow Road as Millwall get a vital away point.

Przemysław Płacheta saw his effort just before half time smash the upright. Emiliano Buendia saw his effort saved by Millwall keeper Bialkowski. Norwich boss Daniel Farke told BBC Radio Norfolk:

“We created an unbelievable amount of chances with lots of possession close to the opponent’s box. We had 27 chances today. Can’t complain too much, the only thing we can criticise is our responsibility to finish”.

Elsewhere, Middlesbrough made it nine unbeaten as they drew at Blackburn 0-0.

Blackburn boss Tony Mowbray told BBC Radio Lancashire:

“Let’s hope there are not many games like that the rest of the season. It wasn’t nice to watch, I didn’t enjoy it. Lets take the point put it in the bank and move on”.

Neil Warnock told BBC Tees:

“The only regret was not getting three points but that’s the Championship, if you don’t win you’ve got to make sure you come away with a point”.

Wednesday’s Action

Another away win for Preston as they beat leaders Reading by three goals. Despite a missed penalty from Daniel Johnson two goals in four minutes from Scott Sinclair and Emil Riis followed by a Brad Potts goal in stoppage time gave Preston their fourth away win.

A high ball into the box was clearly chested down by Sinclair and slotted into the goal despite Reading appeals for offside. A quick counter saw Preston double their lead Emil Riis reaching a long ball and sliding his shot under the advancing keeper. Another quick break from Preston saw Tom Barkhuizen get behind Readings defence. His squared ball into the box was met by Potts who put the ball into the top corner.

Reading head coach Veljko Paunovic said after the game:

“I’m not disappointed but I feel the pain. When you lose a game, you have to absorb it. That’s what I’ve told the players.

You have to bounce back and convert the pain into a positive energy for the next game”.

Preston boss Alex Neil said:

“This seems to be quite common for us on the road. We’ve been excellent on the road”.

A five goal thriller at Vicarage Road as Watford beat Stoke City. Stoke took the lead after 2 minutes, Steven Fletcher finishing a training ground corner.

Watford equalised after 28 minutes Tom Cleverley finishing off a lovely piece of passing play from Watford. Cleverley’s shot came off the bar and the ground to be collected by the keeper, after a brief wait the ref gave the goal after receiving a signal form the Goal Decision System.

Joao Pedro’s gave the lead to Watford after Sarr was brought down by Stoke Keeper Angus Gunn. Nick Powell leveled for Stoke with a right footed strike from the edge of the box on 81 minutes. But Watford weren’t done as Sarr found the net three minutes into added time.

Wycombe made it three unbeaten with a 2-1 win at St Andrews. Despite going behind to a Marc Roberts goal just before the break. A late second half fight back with Scott Kashket leveling the game on 75 minutes and an own goal in injury time from Kristian Pedersen. Wycombe after severn points in three games are not just a point of Coventry and getting out of the relegation zone.

Coventry lost out on a point to a 96 minute Lyle Taylor penalty as they lost to Forest 2-1. Scott Mckenna had given Forest the lead before Callum O’Hare squared things up. This was Forests first win in five and they sit 20th in the table. Derby lost again at Pride Park as QPR scored a late winner for the second game running. After a 91 minute winner on Saturday, Macauley Bonne’s late header gave QPR another three points. Luton picked up a good win away at Rotherham 1-0 with a goal from James Collins.

Another busy weekend of Championship action as Friday sees the Serevenside Derby between Cardiff City and Bristol City. Leaders Reading host Stoke in Saturdays early kick off, whilst Norwich v Swansea should be a cracker of a game.

Preston V Cardiff City Preview

Sunday’s early Championship fixture is between Preston North End and Cardiff City. Both clubs have four points from their opening four games prior to the international break.

Preston come into this match after a fantastic 4-2 win away at Brentford, while Cardiff held a free scoring Blackburn at Ewood Park last time out. Preston currently sit in 14th place whilst Cardiff are 16th.

Last season’s fixture saw the Bluebirds win 3-1 as they made a run into the playoffs. Historically, however, Deepdale has not been a happy hunting ground. Cardiff having lost by three goals in 2017,2016, 2010 as well as a 6-0 defeat in 2009. The latter resulting in the swing in goal difference that allowed Preston to beat Cardiff to the Play-offs.

Team News

For Preston Alan Browne is unlikely after being in close contact with with an ireland teammate who has tested positive for Covid-19. Browne has given a negative test but under current rules must still isolate for 10 days.

Preston Manager Alex Neil told Lancaster News:

“I presume at the moment that alan won’t be available, but I’m not quite sure. We need to take medical advice although we’ve already had some discussion with the doctor”.

Browne was forced to miss both of Irelands Nations League games this week.

There was, however, better news for midfielder Daniel Johnson:

“DJ to be fair was making good progress just before the international break. But he’d only trained once or twice with us before the Brentford game which wasn’t quite enough. He trained with us on Tuesday this week and hopefully will do so for the remainder of the week”.

Cardiff, meanwhile, will be without playmaker Lee Tomlin who is suspended after his red card at Blackburn. Joe Ralls will most likely play just behind the striker for Cardiff after returning from injury in the Blackburn game.

Kieffer Moore limped off during Wales’ game v England, but did play in the game against Ireland.

Speaking to Wales Online, Cardiff manager Neil Harris said:

“Kieffer’s come back to us. Fortunately he’s healing well, so has a good chance for the weekend”.

Another problem for Harris is the fitness of full back Joe Bennett who had to come off at Blackburn after just 13 minutes:

“Joe Bennett came off with a hamstring, so we have to keep an eye on that. We’ll have to wait and see”.

Key Players

Scott Sinclair has enjoyed a really good start to the season with three goals in four games. The winger who will know Cardiff well having been a former Swansea City player will be desperate to make it four goals. a wide player who likes to get into the box, he will be a handful for the Cardiff defence.

For the Bluebirds, Joe Ralls will need to be the creative force and push forward to support Moore. Cardiff forwards have often looked isolated this season so Ralls will need to be quick to support Moore when Cardiff play direct. He has the passing ability to open up the Preston defence and if Kieffer Moore can get into good spaces they can be a real threat. Preston will also have to watch out for his set piece play.

Where to Watch

This game is being shown live on Sky Sports Football and Main Event from 11:30 with a 12:00 kick off.

Prediction: Preston North End 1 – 1 Cardiff City

Two teams who have started slow and unlikely to change this weekend. Cardiff will be the happier side with a point away from home.