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Preview: Blackburn Rovers vs. Cardiff City - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Championship clash between Blackburn Rovers and Cardiff City, including team news and predicted lineups.

In-form Blackburn Rovers will be looking to keep their positive run going when they welcome slow starters Cardiff City to Ewood Park on Saturday afternoon.

Rovers lost their opening game of the season but have since scored eight goals without conceding in back-to-back wins, while Cardiff have three points from the first nine on offer.


Match preview

Adam Armstrong celebrates scoring for Blackburn Rovers on September 19, 2020© Reuters

The Blue and Whites' 11 goals from their first three league matches is the most by a second-tier side since Middlesbrough scored 12 in 1963-64.

Tony Mowbray's men looked scintillating in their 5-0 win over Wycombe Wanderers and 4-0 victory at Derby County, coming on the back of a 3-2 reverse at the hands of Bournemouth.

Ewood Park is the last place Cardiff want to visit this weekend, then, having looked poor in a defensive sense so far this season.

City shipped three unanswered goals against Northampton Town in the EFL Cup first round and have lost 2-0 and 2-1 to Sheffield Wednesday and Reading respectively in the league.

Those home losses sandwiched an improved 2-0 win at Nottingham Forest in their first away league outing of the season, and it is City's away form that will offer Neil Harris hope.

Cardiff City's Sean Morrison celebrates scoring against Middlesbrough on July 18, 2020© Reuters

The Bluebirds have won eight of their last 10 Championship matches on their travels, including a run of three victories on the bounce stretching back into last season.

Cardiff have a good record at Ewood Park, too, with their last league defeat there coming some 36 years ago. The last four encounters there between the sides have finished level.

Blackburn won the most recent encounter 3-2 in South Wales three months ago, with Adam Armstrong scoring what proved to be the winning goal 20 minutes from time.

Armstrong has carried that goalscoring form into the 2020-21 campaign, having now netted in his last five Championship matches and found the net seven times overall in that run.

Blackburn Rovers Championship form: LWW
Blackburn Rovers form (all competitions): LLWW

Cardiff City Championship form: LWL
Cardiff City form (all competitions): LLWL


Team News

Lee Tomlin celebrates scoring for Cardiff on February 8, 2020© Reuters

Joe Rankin-Costello has been ruled out for Rovers after sustaining a hamstring injury in the win over Derby - a big blow for Mowbray as the right-back has started the season well.

That will likely mean Ryan Nyambe - a second-half substitute at Pride Park - slotting into an otherwise unchanged back four for the visit of Cardiff.

Meanwhile, Corry Evans and Sam Gallagher have both returned to training this week and are pushing for recalls to the squad.

As for Cardiff, Callum Paterson was the latest player to depart the club this week, joining Sheffield Wednesday in a cut-price deal worth around £500,000.

Harris does still have different options to call upon in attack, with Lee Tomlin battling to be fit after a stop-start opening few weeks to the campaign for the playmaker.

Sheyi Ojo has been disappointing since joining on loan last month and is at risk of being left out for this trip to Lancashire, while Marlon Pack is another whose place is at risk.

Blackburn Rovers possible starting lineup:
Kaminski; Nyambe, Lenihan, Williams, Bell; Johnson, Holtby, Rothwell; Dolan, Armstrong, Brereton

Cardiff City possible starting lineup:
Smithies; Osei-Tutu, Morrison, Nelson, Bennett; Ralls, Bacuna; Murphy, Tomlin, Hoilett; Moore


SM words green background

We say: Blackburn Rovers 2-2 Cardiff City

Blackburn have scored goals for fun this season and enter this game in better form than Cardiff, although the Bluebirds do boast one of the best away returns in the division.

Given that the last four league meetings between the sides at Ewood Park have finished level, we are tipping the spoils to be shared on Saturday afternoon.


Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting a double chance bet on a home win or an away win in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Home/Away:data

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Monday's key events


TRIATHLON
· Jonny Brownlee will look to make the most of his brother Alistair's absence as he goes for gold in the men's triathlon (10.30pm-1am)

RUGBY SEVENS
· Team GB get their campaign underway with two matches, against Canada and Japan (from 1.30am)

SWIMMING
· One of Team GB's biggest gold medal hopes, Adam Peaty, will take part in the 100m breaststroke final. (3.12am)
· Ariarne Titmus and Katie Ledecky go head to head for gold in the women's 400m freestyle final (3.20am)

DIVING
· Tom Daley and Matty Lee take part in the men's 10m synchro final (7am-8am)

ARTISTIC GYMNASTICS
· The men's team final takes place (11am)

> Today's schedule in full
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Olympic Games Men's Football
Taca da Liga
Scottish League Cup
Belgian Pro League
Swiss Super League
Russian Premier League
Ukrainian Premier League
Swedish Allsvenskan
Danish Superliga
Finnish Veikkausliiga
Belarusian Premier League
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Major League Soccer
Brasileiro
Copa Diego Maradona
Uruguayan Primera Division
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CONCACAF Gold Cup
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