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Big Match Preview: Cardiff City away

Both Cardiff City and Bristol City have enjoyed excellent seasons, both pushing for promotion to the Premier League.

And the pair clash for the 92nd time as the Bluebirds host the Robins on Sunday lunchtime for the latest Severnside derby.

Lee Johnson's City are three games unbeaten, albeit those results have been a trio of draws, but they can take confidence from their last outing against an in-form Fulham, particularly.

As for Neil Warnock's side, Cardiff are without defeat in the league since New Year's Day, winning five times and recording two draws.

Here’s a closer look at our next opponents.

FACTFILE

Formed: 1889
Nickname: The Bluebirds
Website: www.cardiffcityfc.co.uk
Twitter: @CardiffCityFC
Ground: Cardiff City Stadium
Capacity: 33,280

Honours:
Championship: 2012/13
Third Division (League One) champions: 1946/47
League One Play-off winners: 2003
League Two champions: 1992/93
FA Cup winners: 1927
FA Charity Shield winners: 1927

Last season:
League finish: 12th
FA Cup: Third round, lost to Fulham
EFL Cup: First round, lost to Bristol Rovers
Top scorer: Kenneth Zohore, 12 goals
Average attendance: 17,242

HOW DID THEY GET HERE?

The Bluebirds are high-flyers in the Championship this season. They have found themselves in a fight for promotion alongside City but it was not all that long ago that they were actually in the top flight themselves.

In the first few years after being taken over by billionaire Vincent Tan in 2010, the club took Liverpool to the League Cup final. Although they ultimately lost, they showed they were up to compete against England’s best and they found themselves in the Premier League just two seasons later. They were relegated back to the Championship within nine months and have yet to return to the top division.

Cardiff caused a bit of a storm when they changed their traditional colours of blue and white to red between 2012 and 2015 and they’ll hope to continue ruffling feathers this season, after being tipped as mere long shots for promotion.

Since the Robins' 2-1 victory at the Gate back in November, Johnson's side are now ten points from Cardiff City, who occupy second spot - an automatic promotion place - heading into the Severnside derby.

Experienced Cardiff City boss Neil Warnock orders his players during their 3-0 defeat away to Preston North End earlier in the season.

MEET THE GAFFER

The player-turned coach has managed 17 teams over 37 years, including six-and-a-half years at Sheffield United. He retired from playing when he was 30 years old to begin his coaching career. He had scored 36 goals in more than 320 appearances as a player.

The former midfielder first tried his management hand with National League North side Gainsborough Trinity in 1980 before going to manage the likes of Queens Park Rangers, Rotherham and Leeds United.

He’s a coach who has Premier League experience, has tasted Championship trophy success and promotion triumph in the former third and second divisions – now League One and League Two.

Creative midfielder Junior Hoilett

STAR MAN – Junior Hoilett

The former Blackburn and QPR midfielder has been back among the goals with Cardiff this season, both in terms of netting them himself and setting up his teammates,

In fact, Canadian-born Hoilett leads the goalscoring and assist charts with eight Cardiff goals and eight assists.

He’s a player with bags of experience in English football and made a name for himself in the Premier League during his time at Loftus Road and was part of the sides which won promotion and suffered relegation between the two divisions.

Flint popped up with the Severnside derby winner in the reverse fixture

LAST TIME OUT

Bristol City 2 Cardiff City 1
Sky Bet Championship, November 4th 2017
Bristol City: Callum O'Dowda 20’,  Omar Bogle 41', Aden Flint 66'.

City secured their first Severnside derby victory for five years by beating ten man Cardiff City 2-1 at Ashton Gate.

The match certainly had its derby atmosphere with Callum O’Dowda involved in early challenges. He was first blocked by Lee Peltier, who received a yellow card after just four minutes, before O’Dowda was judged to have tripped an opponent.

This fixture has produced ten goals in its last three outings and so goals were almost guaranteed. But the fans, out in full voice once more at BS3, had to wait 16 minutes for the game’s first shot; that fell to O’Dowda but the Republic of Ireland international dragged the ball wide of Neil Etheridge’s goal.

The hosts went ahead just three minutes later and it was the Irish winger with his first league goal for City, who broke the deadlock. Frank Fielding pumped the ball forward, which Milan Djuric flicked on to Joe Bryan. He squared a pass to O’Dowda, whose left-footed effort curled into the far corner.

Djuric almost doubled the Robins’ advantage minutes later, but his flick in the box was smartly saved by Etheridge. Bryan then forced Etheridge to parry a fierce strike as City piled more pressure on their rivals.

But the Bluebirds carried their own threat and Fielding was forced to save a Bogle effort before conceding. Junior Hoilett won the ball in the City box and danced through tackles at the byline before Bogle struck a fierce shot past Fielding as the sides went into the tunnel all square.

Bogle was sent off for a late challenge on Marlon Pack, ten minutes into the second half, after the striker’s late challenge on the midfielder. And City took advantage of having the extra man, with Aden Flint restoring their lead not long after.

Hordur Magnusson lofted a long throw into the Cardiff penalty area from the right, which Flint connected with a powerful header beyond Etheridge for the defender’s fourth goal of the season.

Cardiff’s Danny Ward responded with a teasing header which glanced wide but City always looked the more comfortable, in possession of the extra man.

Josh Brownhill came within an inch of adding a third, but his right-footed drive was deflected on its way wide, also skimming the foot of the post.

Cardiff City came close to equaliser in stoppage time as well, but former Robin Lee Tomlin couldn’t keep his free kick under Fielding’s bar.

Bristol City: Fielding, Baker, Smith, Magnusson, Flint, Bryan, Brownhill, Pack, O'Dowda, Djuric, Reid.

Cardiff City: Etheridge, Morrison, Sol Bamba, Ecuele Manga, Peltier, Bryson, Paterson, Ralls, Hoilett, Mendez-Laing, Bogle

AND FINALLY...

Officials
Referee: Paul Tierney
Scott Ledger and Andy Garratt
Fourth Official: Andrew Madley

Betting (via SkyBet) - correct as of 5pm, February 22nd 2018.
Cardiff City 11/10
Draw 12/5
Bristol City 5/2

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