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Last Updated: 27/01/20 5:04pm
Cardiff face West Brom in the Sky Bet Championship on Tuesday, live on Sky Sports Football.
Cardiff striker Danny Ward comes back into contention for his side’s Sky Bet Championship clash at home to leaders West Brom on Tuesday night. Ward was forced off with a head injury in the 1-1 draw at Birmingham nine days ago and, following concussion protocols, he was ruled out of the FA Cup fourth-round draw at Reading on Saturday.
Defender Lee Peltier should also be available after missing the tie with the Royals with a dead leg, although midfielder Joe Ralls is a doubt after coming off in that game after 30 minutes. Although boss Neil Harris made seven changes for the match at the Madejski Stadium, he is expected to revert more closely to the side that played against the Blues.
Albion will be without Semi Ajayi after the defender was sent off for two bookable offences in Saturday’s 1-0 FA Cup fourth-round win at West Ham. That forces boss Slaven Bilic into one change for the trip to the Cardiff City Stadium, with Ajayi the second player out via a ban as midfielder Matheus Pereira serves the second game of a three-match suspension.
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Bilic has two players sidelined through injury in midfielder Grady Diangana and full-back Kieran Gibbs, both with hamstring issues. After making eight changes for the game with the Hammers, like Harris, it is expected Bilic will again rotate his squad as he looks to end a run of six league games without a win.
While Cardiff still look a much-improved side since Neil Harris took over, they’ve started to hit a sticky patch and have drawn their last three Championship fixtures, perhaps due to the fixture pile-up caused by their third-round replay with Carlisle and the fourth round replay with Reading still to come.
West Brom have really started to stutter at the top of the division and there is just a three-point gap between themselves and third-placed Fulham ahead of Tuesday’s game. Though they beat West Ham in the FA Cup on Saturday, they lost 1-0 to Stoke in their last league outing and drew 2-2 with Charlton nine days earlier.
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What the managers said…
Cardiff’s Neil Harris: “We’ve just got a busy run of games. With three games in six days. Ideally you want that rest and recuperation to be at your best, but there are a lot of teams in the same position, so we’ve no complaints there.
“There’s a short turnaround and that tests the group and their fitness, but I’m lucky to have a good core group of players that want to play. This is where squad management becomes key – the next three games will give opportunities for players to come in and stake their claim.”
West Brom’s Slaven Bilic: TBC
Highlights of the Sky Bet Championship match between Birmingham and Cardiff.
Highlights of the Sky Bet Championship match between West Brom and Stoke.
Cardiff’s last home league match against West Brom was back in December 2013 in the Premier League – the Bluebirds won 1-0.
West Brom last completed a league double over Cardiff City back in the 1974-75 season.
Cardiff have only been defeated once at home in the Championship this season (P13 W7 D5 L1), the fewest home defeats of any side this campaign.
Since (and including) their draw at home to Brentford on December 21st, West Brom have earned just four points from six matches; only Luton (1) have picked up fewer points over this period.
Lee Tomlin has been directly involved in 11 goals (5 goals & 6 assists) in 19 Championship matches this season; in 19 League One matches last season he was involved in just three goals (2 goals & 1 assist).
West Brom are conceding 0.79 goals per game away from home in the Championship this season, compared to 1.43 per game at the Hawthorns.
The inability to kill off games is really hurting Cardiff, who’ve drawn four of their last five games, including two in the FA Cup, adding unwanted congestion to their already packed schedule and restricting them to one league win in seven.
There really does seem to be a hint of altitude sickness creeping in for West Brom, too. There’s just no consistency and the injury to Grady Diangana in mid-December seems to have had some influence in that. They really need a win here but I’m not sure they’ll get it.
David Prutton predicts: 1-0 (17/2 with Sky Bet)
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