CARDIFF CITY will be hoping to bounce back from Saturday’s defeat as they face a resurgent Blackburn Rovers this evening.
A late Jazz Richards own goal condemned the Bluebirds to their first defeat in five matches against Queens Park Rangers. Cardiff had taken the lead through a Sol Bamba goal in the first half, but QPR equalised through Yeni N’Gbakoto before Richards’ final minute own goal.
Manager Neil Warnock says that defeat took away any chance of Cardiff reaching the play-offs and that he will be looking ahead to next season in the coming months.
Speaking to WalesOnline Warnock said: “If we can’t win (at Loftus Road) when we’ve dominated like that, we’re not going to get into the play-offs are we?
“I’m looking all the time to see what we need to have a good go next year. We don’t want to mess about.”
He is hoping that influential midfielder Aron Gunnarsson will be well enough to travel after suffering from illness.
However, striker Rickie Lambert is still out with a back problem along Lee Peltier, whose ankle injury will keep him out for the rest of the season. Bruno Manga and Rhys Healey are both recovering from long-term knee injuries.
Blackburn’s form has picked up in recent weeks. Tony Mowbray’s team have taken 11 points from six games, a run of form that has seen them climb out of the relegation places.
Midfielder Hope Akpan will return to the squad after serving a four-match suspension for pushing the referee in last month’s defeat to Sheffield Wednesday.
Defender Elliott Ward is back in training, but the match will probably have come too soon for him to be considered for a place in the team. Midfielder Corry Evans is still out with a groin injury.
Mowbray feels his side have been helped by players returning from injury and suspension.
Speaking to the Lancashire Telegraph he said: “The squad is getting stronger all the time.
“The good thing for me is that they are not just going to fill the squad out, these are players who would expect to force their way back into the starting line-up.
“But when a team has been winning it can be difficult for them to force their way in but it’s good that they are on the training ground champing at the bit and looking like really good footballers.”
Warnock knows that Cardiff face a tough test at Ewood Park: “I’m looking forward to Blackburn. They won again (on Saturday, against Wigan) so it will be nice to go up and try and get the points.”