MX23RW : Monday, January 25 01:13:52| >> :600:186036:186036:
Oct 18, 2019 at 7.45pm UK at Cardiff City Stadium
Attendance: 22,486
CardiffCardiff City
Sheff WedsSheffield Wednesday

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

Sports Mole previews Cardiff City's clash with Sheffield Wednesday in the Championship on Friday, including predictions, team news and predicted lineups.

Cardiff City and Sheffield Wednesday meet in the Championship on Friday night as both teams look to edge closer to the playoff spots.

The visitors are just one point behind sixth-placed Bristol City, while Neil Warnock's side are four points away, making this meeting a crucial one for keeping in touch with the leading pack.

Match preview

Aden Flint warms up for Cardiff City on October 5, 2019© Reuters

For any team which experiences promotion to the Premier League followed by immediate relegation, considerable upheaval of personnel is inevitable, and such has been the case for Cardiff.

Having dispensed with nine players over the summer transfer window, the Bluebirds made a series of strategic signings such as Robert Glazel, Aden Flint, Will Vaulks and Gavin Whyte, all of whom have practically slotted straight into the starting XI.

This level of change can often have destabilising effects on a club - Sunderland's drop into League One serves as an example - but with Warnock remaining in charge, the team has maintained a sense of core strength.

Indeed, while occasionally lacking in ideas going forward, this Cardiff team possesses an impressive defensive structure which seems to be programmed into each player as if it were a sophisticated algorithm.

Such a record explains why Warnock's men are yet to lose at home in the league so far this season, winning four of their five games at their own ground since August.

Sheffield Wednesday manager Garry Monk on October 5, 2019© Reuters

Wednesday have experienced a similar kind of upheaval over the summer, entering pre-season with Steve Bruce as their manager, only for the 58-year-old to join Newcastle United in July.

Having worked under Bruce since February, the players will feel that they must once again build from square one under new manager Garry Monk, who was appointed in early September following a difficult managerial spell at Birmingham City.

However, for a team which has dwelled in the lower half of the mid-table area since 2017, the Owls are enjoying a decent run of form under their new manager, playing with a lease of life that often comes immediately after a new man comes in.

Since claiming a 2-0 win over Huddersfield Town in Monk's first game in charge, Wednesday have only lost once in the league, securing a clean sheet against Wigan Athletic along with an impressive 4-1 away success at Middlesbrough.

That said, the trip to face Cardiff in their own stadium, where they have not lost since May, arguably presents Monk with his biggest challenge yet.

Recent Cardiff City form: DDWDWL
Recent Sheffield Wednesday form: WDLWLW

Team News

Cardiff City captain Sol Bamba celebrates after scoring against Southampton on February 9, 2019© Reuters

The home side will definitely be without key defender Sol Bamba, who continues to nurse a cruciate ligament injury sustained in March.

Matthew Connolly should return to action this month but is not expected to feature on Friday, while Ashley Richards, Joe Ralls and Isaac Vassell are all sidelined until at least November.

For Wednesday, the only key player potentially injured is midfielder Massimo Luongo, who picked up a knee injury prior to the international break but is not expected to be out for long.

New loan signing David Bates will also have to wait for his league debut under Monk as he continues to nurse a groin problem that has kept him sidelined for most of the season.

Cardiff City possible starting lineup:
Smithies; Peltier, Morrison, Flint, Bennett; Pack, Bacuna; Hoilett, Patterson, Murphy; Glatzel

Sheffield Wednesday possible starting lineup:
Westwood; Odubajo, Iorfa, Borner, Palmer; Pelupessy; Murphy, Lee, Bannan, Harris; Fletcher

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We say: Cardiff City 1-0 Sheffield Wednesday

This will be a game played at a furious tempo between two well-organised, disciplined sides, and it could take a piece of magic or a mistake to break the deadlock.

You get the feeling that Warnock's men, so solid at home, will edge out another win in front of their own supporters.


Who will win Friday's Championship clash between Cardiff City and Sheffield United?

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Middlesbrough striker Britt Assombalonga celebrates scoring against West Bromwich Albion on February 2, 2019
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Championship: Transfer ins and outs - Summer 2019
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