Tag Archives: Lee Tomlin

Championship Preview: Cardiff City v Watford

Two of the in-form teams clash in the Championship this weekend as Cardiff welcome Watford to Welsh Capital. Cardiff are on an eleven game unbeaten run, while Watford have won six of their last seven.

The Bluebirds stunned Watford in December when 1,973 fans were allowed in Vicarage Road, winning 1-0 from a Kieffer Moore goal. Watford sit second in the table with eyes on automatic promotion. Cardiff have emerged as play-off contenders following an upturn in form.

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Having won their last two home games against Derby and Preston both by four goals to nil, Cardiff City Stadium has been a happy hunting ground again for Cardiff. Another impressive 3-1 win against Coventry making it three straight home wins.

Watford lost their last game on the road 1-0 at Bournemouth. The Hornets, however, have picked up previous wins against Blackburn and Preston.

Team News

Lee Tomlin and Jordi Osei-Tutu will not be a part of this match squad for Cardiff but Perry Ng, who missed Cardiff’s trip to Huddersfield is possible for a return. Tom Sang came in for that game and performed well so could get another start. Joel Bagan suffered a dislocated shoulder will also miss out. With Joe Bennett out as well it means a possible start for Ciaran Brown.

Dan Gosling and Achfraf Lazaar will have fitness tests ahead of the trip to Cardiff. Troy Deeney and Tom Cleverley will both miss out with Cleverley possibly returning following the international break. Nathanial Chalobah is available after suspension.

Managers Thoughts

Mick McCarthy was glad of an extra break this week having played on Friday last weekend.

Speaking to Cardiffcity.co.uk:

“It’s been unusual actually but it’s been good for the players and for us as well because we had the weekend without a game.

“It was a real intense schedule, certainly as we ended up playing Wednesday-Saturday, Tuesday-Friday. It was good for them all to get a bit of a break and they’re all feeling a bit fresher and a bit sharper. Hopefully that will benefit us on Saturday.

“They are second in the table, playing well and have the ability to grind out one-nillers as they don’t give much away. Yet they’ve got some flair players too.

“So, if we can win this game, that would put us in a great position and give us a whole lot more confidence if we beat second in the league – but there’s a lot of ifs there!”

Speaking to WatfordFC.com, Xisco Munoz said:

“We know we need to go there like gladiators, play very hard and give our best, with power, intensity and ambition.

“We know what we need, it’s not easy the numbers they have. It’s excellent work from their coach, we have big respect for him. It’s important everybody knows this next game is an amazing challenge for us because we want to break this situation for them.

“Our team now has more time on the ball, creates more chances to score. We know we need to stay alert and pay attention with set pieces and we need to give them more problems. We have our style and our players and we’re hungry every game to take the points”.

Prediction: Cardiff 1-0 Watford

This a game for Cardiff’s style of play. Having had an extra rest Cardiff’s attacking three should have the fresh legs for the high intensity press that has seen the Bluebirds rack up three home wins and score eleven goals.

Championship Preview: Cardiff city v luton town

Cardiff City will host Luton Town this weekend at Cardiff City Stadium. The Bluebirds come in to this match on a poor run of form that has seen them win one in eight. Luton are unbeaten in four but have drawn the last three matches.

Last season saw City win both league meetings between the sides. A 2-1 win with a 96th minute winner from Isaac Vassell, and a 1-0 win from a Lee Tomlin goal. The two side also met in the EFL Cup with Luton running out 3-0 winners.

Besides last season meetings the side have remain apart since 2007 when they played out a goalless draw at Kenilworth Road. Overall Luton lead the head to head with 23 wins. Cardiff have 20 wins and there have been 17 draws.

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Cardiff have gone behind in all but four of their games this season. Poor errors and slow start meaning they often have to work just to salvage a point. Many Cardiff fans have been calling for Harris to be replaced after Cardiff’s poor start. Cardiff are 18th, just five points from the relegation zone.

Luton, meanwhile, are looking up and currently sit 11th four points from the play-off places. With five wins so far of which three have been away from home. Their last three have seen them draw, twice leading games and conceding.

Team News

Cardiff will be without both Lee Tomlin and Jordi Osei-Tutu both still some weeks from being available. Greg Cunningham has been training , but might not be ready for a return to the match day squad yet.

Brendan Galloway will also not be in the match squad for the trip to Cardiff. Dan Potts will be unlikely to feature.

Managers Thoughts

Cardiff manager Neil Harris spoke at his pre-match press conference on the pressure building after his sides poor start:

Yeah, ultimately, Vincent [Tan], Mehmet [Dalman], Ken [Choo], Steve Borley, they are the ones who count. Everyone is entitled to an opinion in modern society, I get that, but, to me, what matters is what we build in-house, within our changing room. But also what the thought process is of above.

I spoke to the board, they want success. Mehmet spoke a couple of months ago about January, being in the top six and wanting to challenge and that’s a realistic expectation for us. That’s my job to deliver that.

I understand that and a football manager needs to win football matches.

I love my job, I really, really enjoy working with the group. But you have to get results as a manager.

I think this is a big period for me, the club and the group, the next couple of games. I put expectations on my own shoulders and I need players my to deliver and I need to get big calls right.

With a big game coming this weekend, would there be chances for this Cardiff Side, Harris continued:

I think we have tried to change the way we’ve played and approach games, the style of play. The majority of it has been really good. The two penalty areas have been the problem. We’ve not scored enough, we’ve conceded the first goal too often. When we have conceded the first goal it’s because we have made errors.

I’ve asked players to adapt their play. I may have to be a little more pragmatic in my approach to some players. We have to find a way of putting teams under more pressure. I have to consider personnel, style of play, formation, all those things considered from a Wednesday to a Saturday.

Luton Manager Nathan Jones spoke about the upcoming game to Luton Website:

“There’s never a good time to play Cardiff, especially away, because they’re a tough side to play. They have got experienced Championship players, a lot with Premier League experience so it’s a tough, tough game.

“Not sure it’s a good time, bad time or anything to play them. It’s a Championship game and the Championship is never an easy ride in anyway shape or form.

When asked about his opposite number Jones said:

“Neil Harris did a wonderful job last year, got them in the play-offs. The Championship is one of those things, someone told me once that you don’t have to do a hell of a lot different in the Championship to go four unbeaten or to get four or five defeats on the spin because it is that type of league.

“Neil is experienced, they are not in a precarious position in anyway shape or form, far more teams in precarious positions, plus he brought himself a little bit of leeway because he has done fantastic work there.”

Jones wants his side to “impact” and start to out their stamp on the Championship:

“We don’t just want to get results. Now we want to impact and to start putting our stamp on the Championship.

“That’s a bold, bold statement and others may listen to that and think, ‘What are they on about? These should be down the bottom’.

“But it’s about what we want to do. We don’t care about anything else. We don’t look outside of the four walls we have here, outside Bedfordshire, for example. We want to evolve into what we want to evolve into, and that’s constant work

“We’ll have to take some punches on the chin and punches on the nose, but we’re going to ride them and come back stronger and stronger because we’ve had a good bit of experience at the level. But, now, we want to have more than experience.”

Key Players

For Cardiff they could have lost Wednesday game by more goals. They had goalkeeper Alex Smithies to thank for it. Smithies has been excellent since breaking into the team last season. If Smithies can keep City in the game than they do have the quality, if not the form to hurt teams.

For Luton its Welsh international Rhys Norrington-Davies. With Cardiff’s lack of a proper right back its an area Luton could exploit. Norrington-Davies can get forward and help in attack and playing down Cardiff’s right could give them great opportunities to get the ball into the box.

Prediction; 1-1

Luton will take the lead by capitalising on Cardiff’s typical slow starts to matches, but the Bluebirds should be able to get a draw.

millwall v Cardiff city preview: return to the LIONS den

Neil Harris returns to former club Millwall this weekend for the first time since leaving in October 2019. Harris enjoyed a successful period in London as both a player and manager. As a player he is Millwall’s all-time record goalscorer with 138 goals across two spells at the club. He took the club into the Championship in 2017 via the play-offs.

Current Form

Millwall currently sit 9th in the Championship with 17 points having only lost two of their 11 matches. Their only defeat in the last five came in a home loss to Huddersfield by three goals to nil. With three draws in their last five they are hard to beat, but are struggling for a winning run.

Cardiff, meanwhile, have two defeats in their last three games with just one win. The Bluebirds have a habit of going behind in games, five of the last six. They often therefore start slow and have to chase games.

The last five league meetings between the sides have been draws. The last win coming for Millwall in 2014, 1-0. With current form this game is likely to be another tight affair. Since 1999 the sides have drawn 11 times.

Team News

Former Cardiff striker Kenneth Zohore will miss the game against his former club with a ankle injury. Midfielder Shane Ferguson is doubtful following being withdrawn after 36 minutes during Northern Ireland’s defeat to Austria. Forward Troy Parrott could return to the squad. He played 45 minutes for the Republic of Ireland under 21’s on Sunday. He also made a brief cameo for the senior side on Wednesday.

Cardiff will be without Lee Tomlin until mid January. Tomlin has had surgery on an ongoing groin issue. Full back Greg Cunningham meanwhile is back in training but this game may come too soon for him. Full back Jordi Osei-Tutu will also be out for at least four weeks, so Cardiff will likely have to play Leandro Bacuna at right back.

Managers Thoughts

Millwall manager Gary Rowett has been glad of the break telling London news Online:

“I’m glad to be going into it [the Cardiff match] off the back of a little bit of a breather. It allows us the chance to at least feel fresh.

“It’s going to be a challenge for the players, just because Cardiff are a good side and it’s Neil and Livers [David Livermore] coming back – their old management team. There’s always that strangeness to it.

“Cardiff are good at what they do. They are trying to play a little bit more but they also have an obvious physical threat that you’ve got to try and deal with.

“They’ve got players like [Harry] Wilson and [Marlon] Pack in there, technical players who move the ball well. It’s a balanced team, like we are.”

The Millwall also boss spoke about his sides home form and how it needs to improve:

“We need to start delivering more wins at home and this is the first one of a group of games which are a tough run. We’ve got a tough-looking run of fixtures over the next period. But the Championship is like that anyway. You’ve got to do your best and try and win it.

“I know Cardiff have maybe not started quite as well as they’d like but that is the same for many teams in the division.”

Neil Harris was asked about his connections to Millwall and how it was disappointing that no fan’s would be at The Den:

Every game is a shame without fans but I understand a Millwall connection. It can work with me or against me. It’s a game of football at the weekend that we want to win.

A lot of similarities in the passion of the fan bases (cardiff and Millwall). Cardiff City Stadium, big games I’ve played there and managed and the fans can be the turning point and I’m sure they would have been a couple of Fridays ago.

The same can be said of Millwall, the fans get behind them and can really spur you on

The Cardiff manager also spoke about the buzz from the returning Welsh players, (Harry Wilson and Kieffer Moore who both scored in Wales’ 3-1 win over Finland):

Yeah! Definitely! Harry and Kieffer have come back into the building with a buzz, Mark Harris, too. (Mark Harris scored for Wales under 21’s)

It lifts the group, lifts our fan base going into Saturday. We feel it and I’m sure the whole of Cardiff City does.

One of Neil Harris’ objectives at Cardiff is to improve the Academy and bring though more youth players. He spoke about his younger players stepping up recently:

Friday was one of the first times we had all the Under-23s, Under-18s, some younger as well, training with us. It was fantastic. It was so good to see. We are a football club that wants to move forward by promoting young players.

We have got to be patient, as I keep saying, but we’ve got some very talented 15, 16 and 17-year-olds that, as soon as they are good enough, I don’t care how old they are, they are in the group.

We have had lads out of school, training with the first team. That’s where we are at, that’s because we believe in good young players coming through.

But that has to run parallel with getting results on a Saturday.

Key Players

For Millwall it is Jed Wallace, who has four goals so far, playing on the right of Millwall’s attacking from three. Speaking ahead of the game about his sides form”

Ultimately it is down to the players, especially myself, to take more responsibility at key moments. We need to show more quality, at times, to turn those 0-0s into 1-0 wins. We don’t need to change too much, we’re doing really, really well.”

For Cardiff they’ll be hoping Harry Wilson carries on from his display for Wales on Wednesday night. It was a stellar performance that even earned praise from Manchester United legend Roy Keane who stated that Wilson’s goal was “outstanding”.

Prediction: Millwall 1-1 Cardiff City

Without any fans at the Den to boost two sides fighting for form, and given recent history this game will only be a draw.

Derby County v Cardiff City Match Preview

Derby will host Cardiff City on Wednesday night at Pride Park. The Rams (yet to gain a point at home) face a Cardiff team who have seven of their nine points on the road. County are without a goal in their three home games this season, while Cardiff are yet to concede on their travels.

Last seasons meeting at Pride park saw a 1-1 draw with Scott Malone scoring for the hosts before a Robert Glatzel penalty. In 2018, Derby won a rearranged fixture by three goals to one The original fixture was postponed on the morning of the game for snow in and around the stadium. Then Cardiff manager Neil Warnock called the decision a “disgrace”. Warnock’s view was that Derby (who had several injuries at the time) welcomed the postponement.

Home v Away

Cardiff have two wins and draw away from home and are yet to concede. The Bluebirds are, however, another side who have struggled at home but seem to be thriving on their travels.

Derby sit bottom of the league on home form without a single goal or point.

Liam Rosenior spoke to the press ahead of the game said:

“It goes to show you how important the supporters are”.

Neil Harris, meanwhile, commented on the strange home/away records this season:

“I don’t expect that to change without fans. In some ways its better to be away from home”.

Team News

Derby will be without Wayne Rooney once again due to him self-isolating. Rosenior did confirm that he would re-join the squad this Friday ahead of Saturday’s fixture against Bournemouth. Nathan Byrne has been training and is available for the match against Cardiff.

Lee Tomlin could return to the bench for the Bluebirds, however, Neil Harris is keen not to rush him saying:

“Tommo has been on the training pitch, that’s a real positive for us. What we can’t do is push Tommo too soon and he falls of the edge of a cliff”.

Harris is also waiting to see if full backs Joe Bennett and Jordi Osei-Tutu will be available.

Managers Thoughts

When asked about Derby gaining their first point at home Rosenior said:

“It would mean we have done our jobs.

“We have got a big game against a good side, but if we perform they will know they are in for a good game”.

Speaking about what danger Cardiff pose, Rosenior added:

“They’ve got really good wide players with quality as well”.

Neil Harris, meanwhile, expects the game to be different to Cardiff’s last fixture:

“It’ll be a completely different game to Boro the other evening”. “They’ve got good players and important players back in the group. They’ve got attacking intent. We have to handle it completely differently, you have to have great shape, good pressing triggers and organisation. When we have the ball we have to hurt them”.

Key Players

For Derby Tom Lawrence could be the key to unlocking Cardiff’s away defence. It was Lawrence’s neat footwork that set up the ruled out second goal against Forest. He picked up a 7.6 rating on whoscored.com for his performance. Lawrence spent time at Cardiff in 15/16 on loan.

Harry Wilson has been involved in Cardiff’s attacking massively since signing on loan. He got his first goal against former team Bournemouth and will be looking to get another in this game. Wilson has a passing % of 77.6 for City and Cardiff will likely attack though him.

Prediction; Derby 0 v 1 Cardiff

Without having any success at home this season Derby will be under pressure to turn this around. The longer the game goes on the more likely of Cardiff catching out their hosts.

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.