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Match Previews

PREVIEW: Sky Blues Host Cardiff City Tonight

City are hoping to move themselves clear of the bottom three in midweek...

25 November 2020

The Sky Blues face Cardiff City on Wednesday night at St Andrew’s. Here’s everything you need to know about our opponents.

                             

Fact File

Name: Cardiff City

Founded: 1899

Stadium: Cardiff City Stadium (first opened 2009)

Capacity: 33,280

Nickname: The Bluebirds

Address: Cardiff City Stadium, Leckwith Road, Cardiff, CF11 8AZ

Pitch Size: 110 x 75 yards

Cardiff City Stadium.jpg

The Opposition

Cardiff finished in 5th place in the Championship last season under Neil Harris, losing in the play-off semi-finals to eventual winners Fulham.

The Bluebirds have some exciting attacking players in their ranks including the likes of Harry Wilson and Sheyi Ojo on loan from Liverpool and Wales international Kieffer Moore up front.

The Welsh side find themselves in 15th place in the early stages of the season and have won just one of their last seven matches in the league.

Neil Harris.jpg

Manager

Neil Harris was appointed as Cardiff manager in November 2019, after spending the previous four seasons in charge of Millwall.

Harris gained legendary status during his playing career with the Lions and is the club’s record goalscorer across two spells with the London side.

He was placed in caretaker charge of the club on several occasions before being appointed as manager in April 2015 and took Millwall to the League One play-off final in his first full season in charge where they were beaten by Barnsley at Wembley.

The 43-year-old would go one better the following season, once again qualifying for the play-offs before beating Bradford City in the final to gain promotion to the Championship.

His side would narrowly miss out on a top-six finish in their first season back in the second tier before finishing one place above the drop zone in 2018/19 and departing the club October 2019.

As previously mentioned, Harris impressively guided Cardiff into the play-offs last term having taken over from Neil Warnock in November.

With Cardiff, Harris has managed 49 matches recording 19 wins, 18 draws and 12 defeats.

Cardiff City Fans.jpg

Last Six Games

Drew – Millwall 1-1 Cardiff (Sky Bet Championship)

Lost – Cardiff 0-1 Bristol City (Sky Bet Championship)

Won – Cardiff 3-0 Barnsley (Sky Bet Championship)

Lost – Queens Park Rangers 3-2 Cardiff City (Sky Bet Championship)

Drew – Derby County 1-1 Cardiff (Sky Bet Championship)

Drew – Cardiff 1-1 Middlesbrough (Sky Bet Championship)

Last Meeting vs Cardiff City.jpg

Last Time We Met

The two sides last met in August 2014 when the Sky Blues were beaten 2-1 in the first round of the EFL Cup at Sixfields.

Cardiff went ahead through Guido Burgstaller’s strike after just four minutes when the Austrian found the bottom right corner from 12-yards out.

Substitute Shaun Miller had a chance to draw the Sky Blues level when he was picked out by a wonderful pass from John Fleck, but lobbed his effort over the bar with only Simon Moore to beat.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side doubled their lead 10 minutes from time when Ryan Haynes turned Mats Moller Daehli’s cross from the left into his own net, under pressure from Kadeem Harris at the back post.

City halved the deficit just two minutes later when Miller stabbed home Haynes’ excellent cross from the left, but it was too little too late for Steven Pressley’s men.

Head-to-Head Record

Sky Blues Wins – 18

Draws – 12

Cardiff Wins – 21

Club Connections

Aron Gunnarsson.jpg

Aron Gunnarsson

Current Iceland captain Aron Gunnarsson made his breakthrough with the Sky Blues before moving to Cardiff and helping the club reach the Premier League for the first time in their history.

The midfielder started his career in his home country with local side Þór Akureyri before moving to the Netherlands as a teenager, making one league appearance for AZ Alkmaar.

He joined the Sky Blues in June 2008 and his impressive performances saw him win the Supporter’s Player of the Year award at the end of his first season with the club.

Gunnarsson spent two more seasons with City, making a total of 133 appearances, scoring seven goals, before departing for Cardiff in July 2011.

The 31-year-old continued to impress in Wales and helped the club achieve promotion to the Premier League in 2012/13, having scored eight goals in 45 appearances as Cardiff romped to the Championship title.

He scored the Bluebirds first ever Premier League goal in their win against Manchester City, but couldn’t the club retain their top-flight status, heading straight back down to the Championship.

Gunnarsson would help Cardiff reach the Premier League for a second time in 2017/18, finishing as league runners-up, but departed at the end of the following season which saw the Welsh side once again relegated to the second tier after just one season back in the top-flight.

He left Cardiff having made 286 appearances, scoring 25 goals, across eight seasons, joining Qatari side Al-Arabi which is where he currently plays.

He has 91 international caps for Iceland and captained his country at their first major tournament, UEFA Euro 2016, famously beating England 2-1 before eventually losing in the quarter-finals, as well as leading his side at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.

Leslie Jones.jpg

Leslie Jones

Sky Blues Hall of Fame member Leslie Jones made over 100 appearances for both clubs as a player in the 1930’s.

Jones, pictured left, began his career with local side Aberdare Athletic before signing for Cardiff in 1929 where he would make 142 appearances scoring 31 goals.

The inside forward joined City in January 1934 and scored 27 goals in his first full season with the club, going to score an impressive 69 goals in 139 appearances, helping City win the Division Three South title in the 1935/36 campaign.

The Wales international departed for Arsenal in 1937, winning the First Division title in his first season in the capital and served in the Royal Air Force during the Second World War, before leaving to join Swansea Town as a player-coach in 1946.

After a short spell in Swansea, he became player-manager at Barry Town, spending two years with the non-league club before finishing his career with Football League side Brighton & Hove Albion.

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Match Officials

Jeremy Simpson will be the man in the middle on Wednesday night, taking charge of his seventh game of the 2020/21 season.

He last refereed the Sky Blues in May 2019, when City were beaten 2-0 by Doncaster Rovers in League One at the Keepmoat Stadium.

This will be Simpson’s ninth season as a Football League referee and he has officiated the Sky Blues on eight occasions, with City winning one, drawing four and losing three of those matches.

So far, Simpson has awarded 19 yellow cards and three red cards across six matches in the Carabao Cup, Championship and League One.

He will be assisted by Nik Barnard and Richard Wild with Michael Salisbury acting as fourth official.


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