How Cardifficult Can It Be To Win?
The Cardiff City Stadium
Tuesday 15th February 2011
The Clarets buoyed by their away win against Watford on Saturday now have to do it all again and go one better by defeating the high-flying Bluebirds in the Cardiff City Stadium on Tuesday night.
Burnley`s away form seems to be improving since the arrival of Eddie Howe and boy does it need to with a sequence of four consecutive games away this month alone. Our confidence though should be high following our 3-1 victory against Watford at Vicarage Road on Saturday. Now we are seeking our fourth league away win of the season with Cardiff the hosts on Tuesday night.
The match had been rescheduled following the postponement of the original fixture back in December due to snow and ice in South Wales.
This will be the first time we have played at Cardiff`s new stadium so let`s hope our fortunes are better here than they were at Ninian Park.
The Clarets woeful away form though has been legendary after managing to win only 5 of the last 44 games on the road prior to the Watford victory.
Eddie Howe however has instilled a new found confidence into the team and since arriving we have now won two and drawn one of the four away games where he has been in charge. Another victory on the road against second-placed Cardiff would be a real feather in his cap and could be crucial to our promotion chances. We are still some way off the play-offs spots but are still in contention if we can only maximise our return from the eighteen games still remaining of the season. We are currently in 8th spot six points behind Leeds United in 6th with a game in hand. That game in hand though will be played on Tuesday night showing how crucial victory could be.
Cardiff under Dave Jones have been inconsistent at times but now seem to be enjoying a good run of form with no defeat now in six games.
They are riding high in the Championship in second spot on 54 points, five behind league leaders, QPR but eight points clear of Burnley having played the same number of games.
The Bluebirds home form of late has also been impressive with no defeat now in their last six home games. They have lost just two home games all season over a poor spell that saw them lose to local rivals, Swansea and Nottingham Forest before then only managing a 1-1 draw against bottom club, Preston.
It is clear though that the Bluebirds are now back on song and that the Clarets will have a difficult task trying to stop them chirping!
Cardiff City Team News:
The only injury concern for Cardiff appears to be 31 year old midfielder, Stephen McPhail. The Republic of Ireland international pulled his hamstring in the FA Cup replay against Stoke City back in January.
However he seems to be well on the road to recovery having played in the Reserves last week and being named on the bench for Cardiff`s last two games without featuring.
Player to watch: Jay Bothroyd
Bothroyd is in second spot in the Npower Championship Top Scorers table with 15 league goals so far this season for the Bluebirds. He will need to be carefully watched on Tuesday night The 28 year old England International signed from Wolves in Aug 2008 for £350,000 after penning a three-year deal.
Burnley Team News:
There is no news of any new injuries following our away win at Watford on Saturday. The only two players sidelined continue to be Martin Paterson (recurrent thigh strain) and Chris McCann (recovery from cruciate knee surgery). Both look unlikely to feature in the first team now before the end of the season.
Hopefully, Charlie Austin will have recovered from the illness that kept him from training last week. If he is fit to play, Chris Iwelumo could be dropped back to the bench despite scoring his first away goal for the Clarets this season against the Hornets on Saturday.
Player to watch: Steven Thompson
It looks unlikely that Thompson will get a starting eleven place but hopefully he will get a chance to come on from the bench and play against his former club. He should be up for it if he does and it would be good to see him score on his first visit to their new stadium.
Team & Tactics
I suspect the only change that will be made to the starting eleven could be the return of Charlie Austin following the illness that kept him sidelined for the Watford game last Saturday.
Assuming Austin is well enough to play; Iwelumo could pick up the short straw and find himself returning to the bench despite scoring his first away goal of the season against the Hornets. Howe on the other hand may take the view that Iwelumo deserves his chance again and that you should never change a winning team.
The eighteen then could look something like this:
Grant, Mears, Duff, Carlisle, Fox, Cork, Marney, Wallace, Eagles, Iwelumo or Austin, Rodriguez
Subs: Jensen, Bikey, Easton (or Iwelumo or Austin), Alexander, Bartley, Elliott, Thompson
Bedfordshire referee Pat Miller is in charge of this one. He seems a bit handy with the cards this season so far showing 6 reds and 76 yellow cards in his 21 matches in charge at Championship and lower league level
I would be delighted with a point to be honest providing we can then go on to complete the double over Preston in our next league game. Three points and I will really 'dare to dream` again! I am banking on Cardiff having one of their inconsistent off-days so we can shade it 2-1 and clock up our fourth away win of the season and our third under Howe.
The Clarets continue their sequence of four consecutive away games this month with a visit to the Boleyn Ground to play Premier League club, West Ham in the FA Cup 5th Round tie on the night of Monday 21st February. The match is also being televised live by ESPN with the original fixture being changed from the weekend to accommodate them. (Kick-Off 8pm). We return to Championship duty on the following Saturday and complete our fourth away game on the trot with a juicy derby game at Deepdale against bottom club, Preston North End on the 26th February (Kick-Off 3pm)