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

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Championship fixture between Bristol City and Cardiff City, including team news and predicted lineups.

Cardiff City head into their Championship encounter at Bristol City on Saturday afternoon having maintained a slender advantage in the race for the playoffs.

However, Bristol welcome the Bluebirds to Ashton Gate having lost each of their three games since the resumption, leaving the club down in 12th position.

Match preview

Cardiff manager Neil Harris licks his lips on February 15, 2020© Reuters

While Neil Harris would have been disappointed with Cardiff's goalless draw with Charlton Athletic, the Bluebirds boss will still take the positives from getting another point on the board at this stage of the season.

The stalemate has taken Cardiff's return to 11 points from the last five fixtures, leaving the club with the fourth-best record over that period.

Nevertheless, failing to capitalise on facing relegation-threatened opponents has upped the stakes ahead of their trip to Ashton Gate, aware that Derby County have closed the gap to just one point.

Although failing to score for the first time in five matches naturally came as a disappointment, Cardiff recorded their third clean sheet in four matches, representing a remarkable improvement on their record earlier in the season.

With games against many of their playoff rivals to come, Harris will know that maintaining their current form at the back could be pivotal in their efforts to earn a spot in the top six.

From Bristol City's perspective, they have been left in a position where only victories will do if they wish to gatecrash that area of the standings.

A run of eight games without success, which has included just two draws, has resulted in the Robins dropping down to 12th spot and six points off their next opponents.

Triumphing over one of their nearest rivals would put a different complexion on matters, but Lee Johnson faces a battle on his hands to get his side back on track.

Bristol have now gone 10 games without keeping a clean sheet, a run which has been put together directly after recording four shutouts in five at the turn of the year.

Bristol City Championship form: LDDLLL

Cardiff City Championship form: LDWWWD

Team News

Bristol City boss Lee Johnson on December 22, 2019© Reuters

Bristol boss Johnson will be without Ashley Williams, who was sent off during the defeat at Forest.

Filip Benkovic or Tomas Kalas will be brought in as a replacement, while Daniel Bentley will replace the injured Niki Maenpaa between the sticks.

Further changes could be made further forward with Kasey Palmer and Famara Diedhiou in contention for a starting role.

Although fewer alterations will be made by Harris, Lee Tomlin and Junior Hoilett could be brought back into the team.

Callum Paterson will also hope to get the nod over Robert Glatzel in attack.

Bristol City possible starting lineup:
Bentley; Vyner, Benkovic, Baker, Dasilva; Nagy, Smith, O'Dowda; Weimann, Diedhiou, Palmer

Cardiff City possible starting lineup:
Smithies; Sanderson, Nelson, Morrison, Bennett; Pack, Ralls; Mendez-Laing, Tomlin, Hoilett; Paterson

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We say: Bristol City 0-1 Cardiff City

Although Bristol have been in dismal form, we feel that this fixture could get the best out of Johnson's side. However, Cardiff have been hugely impressive of late, especially at the back, and we cannot go against the visitors claiming another narrow win.

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