BRINGING IT ALL BACK HOME
The Championship returns to CCS
Saturday marks the long awaited return of football to Cardiff City Stadium, coming over a month since we last convened to face Ipswich. So what better way to mark the homecoming than with a mouth-watering severnside derby fixture Bristol City?
The Robins currently find themselves only one point from rock bottom of the Championship, one place above bottom side Peterborough. However, with the competitive nature of the division they are potentially only one win away from the safe haven of twenty-first position.
Despite their current low position they have won three out of the last four games. These have included a brilliant 2-0 victory over promotion candidates Watford along, with wins against Ipswich Town and Nottingham Forest.
Bristol City have only picked up eleven points from a possible forty-five on the road though. This means they have the worst away record in the division in this respect and will be facing the best home team in the division in the shape of Cardiff City. But as everyone knows, anything could happen in a derby.
Key Players: Tricky Winger Albert Adomah has returned to training for Saturday’s visitors after representing Ghana at the African Cup of Nations. After helping guide country to fourth position, Adomah will return to Ashton Gate to find he has a new manager in Sean O’Driscoll.
Adomah has chipped in with five goals this term and there are only two players in the Bristol line-up who better that total - Steven Davies and Sam Baldock. Davies has scored ten goals in twenty-five games and Baldock nine in twety-four. Along with their Ghanaian teammate they could prove to be the West Country side’s main threats come the weekend.
And if Malky’s men are to gain three points on Saturday they will have to score against City’s Carling Cup hero of 2012, Tom Heaton. Tom has made twenty-nine appearances in the league for Bristol this season, with only defender Liam Fontaine playing more games with thirty-one outings. The pair will be key if Bristol are to stop the City strikers.
Previous Meetings: The Reds have the upper hand when it comes to the overall head-to-head with thirty-six wins against their Welsh neighbours. Cardiff City have twenty-nine times out of the eighty-five meetings with twenty games finishing all square.
Cardiff will be looking to make amends for their 4-2 defeat at Ashton Gate back in August. That however was one of only two defeats in the last ten Severnside derbies - a run which includes that famous 6-0 win at Ashton Gate back in 2010.
Last Meeting: Bristol City briefly found themselves as the leaders of the Championship after their 4-2 win back in August.
The Robins took a lead on the half hour mark through Stephen Pearson and doubled it before half time through Martyn Woolford.
City looked like they were getting back in the tie when Joe Mason got a goal back with a header with over half hour to go, but Woolford once again restored the two-goal cushion just over ten minutes later. Heidar Helguson scored a second Cardiff goal in the eighty-second minute but it was not to be the start of a comeback as Sam Baldock ensured Bristol gained all three points by adding a fourth three minutes before time.
Bristol City Line-up: Heaton, Wilson, Fontaine, Carey, Cunningham, Woolford, Skuse, Pearson, Adomah (Davies), Stead (Baldock), Taylor (Elliott). Subs not used: Carey, Foster, Wilson, Morris.
Cardiff City Line-up: Marshall, Taylor, Hudson, Connolly, McNaughton, Whittingham, Cowie, Smith (Velikonja), Gunnarsson (Mason), Mutch (Ralls), Helguson. Subs not used: Lewis, Nugent, Kiss, Earnshaw.