MX23RW : Tuesday, March 19 15:49:30

Preview: Blackburn Rovers vs. Cardiff City

Sports Mole previews Tuesday night's Championship clash between Blackburn Rovers and Cardiff City at Ewood Park.

Two sides seeking their first win of the Championship campaign face off on Tuesday night when Blackburn Rovers play host to Cardiff City.

The Bluebirds have required late goals in their two outings to date to earn successive draws, while the Blue and Whites have just the one point to their name.

Blackburn Rovers

Jordan Rhodes of Blackburn Rovers celebrates his goal during the Sky Bet Championship match between Blackburn Rovers and Burnley at Ewood Park on March 9, 2014© Getty Images

With just one point on the board from their opening two fixtures, and a transfer embargo still looming large, these are certainly tough times for Rovers.

It could have been an even worse start to the campaign for the Lancashire outfit had Nathan Delfouneso not found an equaliser in their last outing away at Huddersfield Town.

The 2-1 home reverse to Wolverhampton Wanderers on the opening weekend came about in a cruel fashion, with opposition midfielder David Edwards seemingly handling the ball prior to scoring, underlining just what can happen to a side when their luck appears to be out.

Combine this with the early League Cup exit, coming about following a surprise defeat at home to Shrewsbury Town, and you get the impression that boss Gary Bowyer is feeling the heat a little.

The good news for Blackburn - or bad, depending on which way you look at it - is that Middlesbrough appear to have ended their pursuit of star striker Jordan Rhodes. Having already lost Rudy Gestede to Aston Villa this summer, it looked almost certain at one stage that Rhodes would also be prised away.

One more big sale would likely see the Ewood Park side occupy a more steady footing, having had to settle for free signings and loan captures so far during this transfer window.

Fode Koita, Modou Barrow, Danny Guthrie and Hope Akpan are among those to have joined Bowyer's side so far, while former Bluebird Nicky Maynard and Jobi McAnuff are thought to be on trial.

It is another of the signings, Delfouneso, who could potentially prove to play a vital part for Blackburn this term. Bowyer has done well to guide his side to two top-10 finishes, but this looks likely to be his toughest test yet if the opening week is anything to go by.

Recent form (all competitions): LLD

Cardiff City

Cardiff manager Russell Slade looks on ahead of the Sky Bet Championship match between Millwall and Cardiff City at The Den on October 25, 2014

While Russell Slade has still yet to fully win over the Cardiff fanbase, there is no denying that he has made the club one of the hardest to beat in the division - particularly away from home.

It is now just one loss in nine away outings for City while, including pre-season matches, it has been 13 games since the Bluebirds last tasted defeat of any sort.

The football may have been tame for large parts of last season, particularly around the turn of the year when Slade was first beginning to put his spin on things, but Saturday evening's draw at Queens Park Rangers showed further shoots of recovery.

Even when two goals behind at Loftus Road, Cardiff - by far the better side on the day - stuck with their attempts to pass the ball forward and were duly rewarded in dramatic style. Scott Malone was the last-minute hero, volleying home beyond the reach of Robert Green to earn a share of the points.

Two points from six overall may not sound all that great, yet there is certainly more of a feel-good factor around the Cardiff City Stadium now compared to any other point in Slade's admittedly short tenure.

It also took a late goal against Fulham on the opening weekend to earn a 1-1 draw, Craig Noone the saviour on that occasion, while a narrow victory over AFC Wimbledon in the League Cup maintained the unbeaten start to the season in South Wales.

Speculation over the future of skipper David Marshall remains, which is unlikely to change until the transfer window closes or he is indeed sold. In terms of incoming business, things have been awfully quiet throughout the summer with just the one senior addition coming in.

That arrival, Sammy Ameobi on loan from Newcastle United, ensures that Cardiff have plenty of options to choose from in attack as they aim to embark on a surprise assault on the top six over the next nine months.

Recent form (all competitions): DWD

Team News

Joe Ralls (C) of Cardiff celebrates with Craig Noone (R) after scoring the opening goal during the FA Cup Third Round match against Colchester United on December 2, 2014© Getty Images

The aforementioned Noone was tipped to start against QPR after scoring two goals in two games, but he was made to settle for a place on the bench as City remained unchanged.

However, with two games in three days changes are likely to come on Tuesday night, which could mean Noone coming into the side in place of either Anthony Pilkington or Joe Ralls in a wide position.

The alternative is switching to a five-man midfield which contains all three of those attacking players, with the ineffective Alex Revell potentially making way. Kenwyne Jones is still looking to find his feet, meanwhile, following a busy off-season at international level.

In terms of the home side, Rhodes limped off in the draw with former side Huddersfield and is deemed a doubt for the midweek clash. Bowyer revealed in his pre-match press conference that he intends to give the Scotsman every chance of playing some part.

Midfield duo Chris Taylor and Corry Evans will definitely miss out, though, due to respective thigh and groin injuries.

Swansea City loanee Barrow is in line to start once more, as is prolific creator Craig Conway - a player who spent three successful seasons at Cardiff earlier in his career.

Blackburn Rovers possible starting lineup:
Raya; Hanley, Henley, Duffy, Olsson; Lowe, Guthrie, Conway, Marshall, Barrow; Delfouneso

Cardiff City possible starting lineup:
Marshall; Malone, Morrison, Connolly, Peltier; Noone, Ralls, Whittingham, Dikgacoi, Pilkington; Mason

Head To Head

Blackburn have conceded in each of their last seven meetings with Cardiff, in a fixture they have struggled in of late.

City have gone four games unbeaten against their midweek opponents, but they have not gone five without defeat since 1961.

Rovers have also shipped two or more goals in each of their last four outings on home soil, including in their opening-game defeat to Wolves.

Sports Mole Logo

We say: Blackburn Rovers 1-2 Cardiff City

A win for Blackburn would take them above Cardiff in the early league standings, yet there is no denying which side has shown more promise in the opening week of the campaign. City looked solid in fixtures against Fulham and QPR, albeit requiring late goals in both, while Blackburn have taken one point from a possible six.

The Bluebirds have done well in this fixture in recent times, and that positive run will continue at Ewood Park on Tuesday night with a narrow victory for the Welsh club.

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A general view prior to the Barclays Premier League match between Queens Park Rangers and West Ham United at Loftus Road on April 25, 2015
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