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Big Match Preview: Cardiff City

Both Cardiff City and Bristol City have enjoyed positive starts to the season, occupying second and fourth positions in the Sky Bet Championship respectively.

And the pair clash for the 91st time as the Robins host the Bluebirds on Saturday lunchtime for the latest Severnside derby.

Both sides have lost just two games all season - both Cardiff's losses have come away from home. City, meanwhile, are looking to extend their unbeaten run to four games in all competitions, having dumped Crystal Palace out of the Carabao Cup and collecting six points out of six away from home.

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.

But Lee Johnson’s Robins have lost only once at Ashton Gate in the current campaign and will look to dent the visitor’s form when they travel to BS3 for the latest 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, notably a thumping 37th minute strike against Leeds United last month.

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.

Hoilett is joint-top of his club’s assists chart this season so City’s players will need to be on their guard against the Canadian winger.

The perfect start to 2011 for Bristol City and Brett Pitman as he nets the opener inside three minutes on New Year's Day

MEMORABLE MEETING

Bristol City 3 Cardiff City 0
Championship, January 1st 2011 (2010/11 season)
Bristol City: Brett Pitman 3’, Lee Johnson 39’, Jamal Campbell-Ryce 55’.

A Seventh goal in as many appearances from Brett Pitman got City off to the perfect start against Cardiff, as he converted a Jonathan Stead cross after just three minutes. And the home side never looked back, with further strikes from Lee Johnson and Jamal Campbell-Ryce ensuring an easy victory in the New Year’s Day Severnside derby. The post denied Michael Chopra and David James made a double save as City held on to make the perfect start to 2011.

Bristol City: James, Caulker, Nyatanga, Cisse, Adomah, Campbell-Ryce, Elliott, Johnson, Skuse, Pitman, Stead.
Cardiff City: Heaton, Hudson, McNaughton, Riggott, Naylor, McPhail, Olofinjana, Whittingham, Bellamy, Chopra, Keogh.

AND FINALLY...

Officials
Referee: Mike Jones
Mark Scholes and Matthew Wilkes
Fourth Official: David Coote

Betting (via SkyBet)
Bristol City 11/8
Draw 12/5
Cardiff City 19/10

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