Rotherham United v Cardiff City
New York Stadium, March 3, KO: 19.45
Cardiff (4-4-2): Marshall; Peltier, Manga, Morrison, Connolly; Noone, O’Keefe, Gunnarsson, Kennedy; Doyle, Jones.
Rotherham (4-4-2): Collin; Hunt, Arnason, Broadfoot, Fryers; Hammill, Green, Smallwood, Pringle; Ward, Derbyshire.
CARDIFF City travel to Rotherham tonight without the suspended Peter Whittingham, as they look to bounce back from a disappointing defeat against Wolves on Saturday.
Both clubs are in the midst of indifferent runs, but Rotherham’s 2-1 victory against Millwall last time out should give them confidence when they face a struggling Cardiff side.
Cardiff have had problems in front of goal all season and Saturday was no different. Despite having 16 shots against Wolves, Cardiff only hit the target four times.
The likes of Kenwyne Jones and Eoin Doyle need to start finding the net more regularly otherwise Cardiff could struggle to pick up points from now until the end of the season. But a flurry of goals from the Bluebirds looks unlikely tonight given they have only netted 15 times in 17 away games this season, and have picked up a measly two wins on the road this term.
By contrast, six of Rotherham’s eight wins this season have come at the New York Stadium and, despite sitting 21st in the league, have lost only five of their 17 home games.
The game comes after a disappointing spell for the Russell Slade’s team in which they have only picked up one win in their last ten league matches. It is by no means promotion form.
Cardiff need to start collecting points from close games. After the loss to Wolves, boss Slade spoke to the press.
He said: “I thought we deserved something. We’ll have to do some work picking the changing room up after that.
“The crowd were trying to suck the ball into the net, and I don’t know how it stayed out on some occasions today.
“There was one where it was cleared off the line and then knocked goalwards again, and I thought that might have been over the line at the time but it wasn’t. We have to start being more ruthless.”
Steve Evans’ Rotherham went in to their last game on the back of 5-0 and 3-0 defeats against Wolves and Watford respectively. But winning a “six-pointer” against a fellow struggling team can only help team spirit.
After the win over Millwall, Evans said: “It was a lot of character shown. We got them in at half-time and they were feeling a little bit sorry for themselves. I told them to relax and that I’d stand in front of them whatever happened.
A draw would not be a bad result for either side, but the Millers are by no means clear of the drop, despite being six points ahead of 22nd-place Millwall..
Cardiff are set for a disappointing season, no matter what they do between now and May. But a number of players face uncertain futures and will be fighting for their futures at the club.
Slade knows he needs wins to relieve the pressure, and the only way he can get those all-important three points tonight is by setting his side up to fashion more clear-cut chances.
Tonight will be a scrap with the two clubs only separated by four points in the table – something no one would have predicted back in August.
The Cardiffian predicts: 2-1 City, a vital away win for Slade’s side.