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TOP SIX IN FOCUS: FEBRUARY 10th

10 February 2013


Cardiff City’s point away at Huddersfield Town on Saturday became all the more valuable by close of play the same day, as yet again evidence of the ruthless nature of the npower Championship came to light. Yet again a number of results killed coupons across the division, thankfully in our favour as an extra point was added above our nearest rivals.


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Friday night saw Vicarage Road as the first location of league drama in a game watched by Sky Sports studio guest Malky Mackay at his old stomping ground. Two first halfWatfordgoals looked to have secured vital automatic promotion chasing points for the Hornets against similarly placed and ambitiousCrystal Palace, only for two second half Eagles strikes in four minutes to kill the party for the hosts.


Kevin Phillips seventieth minute strike meant that points would have to be shared, denying both teams from gaining additional space on leaders Cardiff. The weekend ended with Watford in third place on fifty three points, Crystal Palace two spots and a single point behind. Next up for Watford is a midlands trip to Birmingham, while Crystal Palace face faltering but dangerous Middlesbrough at Selhurst Park.


, 53 POINTS, 31 GAMESrdWATFORD, 3

, 52 POINTS, 31 GAMESthPALACE, 5

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When flicking through the Championship fixtures on Saturday morning, you could have been forgiven for pencilling in a big away ‘W’ for travellingLeicester City, the in-form Foxes in second spot making a trip to London Road and bottom sidePeterborough United. If that had been the case, perhaps a quick chat with a Cardiff City fan would have saved you a few quid on your accumulator.


Things were seemingly going to plan after a goalless first half was followed by a nice close range finish from Ben Marshall to send the large contingent of Foxes fans into delirium. The script however had other ideas, starting with a stunning twenty yard volley from on loan Manchester United starlet Davide Petrucci to dampen the visitors’ mood. The Posh knife was then twisted further in the dying minutes, Grant McCann seeing a much needed home win secured by Peterborough on a day when all three bottom sides won.


Leicester were left downhearted, but with a game in hand on Watford and Crystal Palace, added to with sixteen games to play, Nigel Pearson’s side can still feel confident of making a top two spot their own. This Saturday the Foxes fall a game behind due to FA Cup commitments, followed by a Tuesday trip to top six hopefuls and automatic promotion possible Brighton and Hove Albion.  


, 53 POINTS, 30 GAMESndLEICESTER. 2

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Tony Mowbray last week called for club unity based onMiddlesbrough’sChampionship wobble resulting in a slow but steady decent from the top two spots. While their away form has been found wanting this season, Boro’s 2013 to date, following an excellent December has been a real shock to the division, culminating in five consecutive league defeats since January 1st. At times like this, a run in the FA Cup is of scant consolation.


The away 4-0 loss to Ipswich Town set alarm bells ringing, followed on Saturday with another defeat, this time a 2-3 loss at home toBarnsleyin the bottom three. Should Middlesbrough be held on Tuesday night by Leeds United, Brighton could leapfrog into sixth place at their expense if the Seagulls beat Blackburn. Both games could be vital to the confidence of Boro and Brighton alike.


, 47 POINTS, 30 GAMESthMIDDLESBROUGH, 6

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Anyone inside the departures lounge of Yorkshire Airport on Saturday evening would have seen a huddle of Cardiff City officials next to WH Smiths refreshing smart phones every few minutes, as late in the second half at the Amex Stadium a draw betweenBrighton and Hove AlbionandHull Citylooked ever more likely. The Seagulls struck late however, the Vincente free-kick enhancing their own promotion credentials to push them back into seventh place, two points behind Middlesbrough.


A draw would have seen the Tigers back in second place, but they’ll have to be content with dropping one spot to fourth place thanks to Watford’s Friday night point. Hull have currently played thirty games, the same as Cardiff City, though are next in action on Tuesday night at home against Derby County. It’ll be interesting to see the result from that one! Brighton are at home again on Tuesday, hosting Blackburn as both teams continue to hold promotion hopes.


, 53 POINTS, 30 GAMESthHULL, 4

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By SaturdayCardiff’scurrent eleven point lead could be cut back to eight, albeit with a game in hand on Hull, the only team able to potentially narrow the gap on Tuesday night. Next up is the Severnside derby againstBristolCity, with 2,000 Robins making their way to Cardiff City Stadium with aspirations of a league double and vital points to help their own survival hopes. Bristol, currently in twenty third will want to emulate Peterborough’s fortunes against the top three sides and would love bragging rights over Cardiff, irrespective of the league standing of both teams.


Statistics may be against them, currently rock bottom of the away form table with only three wins from fifteen games on the road, but Bristol, having in recent weeks picked up some good results to boost spirits, including a home win over Watford, again won on Saturday to boost their confidence further. The 2-0 win at home to Nottingham Forest left sacked Reds boss Sean O’Driscoll smiling at Ashton Gate, on a day when all three bottom sides picked up a win. Tom Heaton will also be looking forward to his Cardiff City Stadium return, though his priority over any nostalgia is to see the Robins retain their Championship status.


Are you coming? You’d better be!! If you’re yet to secure tickets, do so now via eTicketing. Alternatively you can call 0845 345 1400 during stadium hours. This is NOT a game to miss.  

 

, 64 POINTS, 30 GAMESstCARDIFF CITY, 1


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