Match Preview | Cardiff City vs. Sheffield Wednesday
The Sky Bet Championship returns for the 2020/21 season on Saturday, with the Bluebirds facing Sheffield Wednesday on the opening day. Neil Harris’ men will face the Owls at Cardiff City Stadium, with a 3pm kick-off.
How do I watch the match?
2020/21 Season Ticket holders are eligible to apply for a Cardiff City TV streaming pass in order to watch Saturday’s fixture. Otherwise, Match Passes are available for the price of £10.
Supporters in the UK & Ireland can also purchase a Commentary Pass for £5 a month, or for just £45 for the entire 2020/21 campaign.
International supporters can tune into the Bluebirds’ matches with a seasonal live Video Pass for £140. City fans overseas can also purchase a monthly Video Pass for £20 or an individual Match Pass for only £7.
Harris pre-Sheffield Wednesday | Ready to start the league campaign
Neil Harris addressed the press and media virtually ahead of Saturday’s Championship opener, and set his sights for the upcoming season.
"The players have had the best day of training since the day before Fulham in the second leg of the Play-Offs," he explained. "We're now fully focused on Sheffield Wednesday, and ready to start the league campaign.
“The personnel we have at the moment within the group have got fantastic attributes to be a successful team, and it's down to me and my coaching staff to get the best out of the group.
"We don't get too far ahead of ourselves. We have to manage the expectations on our shoulders, but also embrace it.”
Opposition Focus: The boss
Garry Monk began his playing career at Torquay United, before moving to Southampton in 1996. The central defender experienced a number of loan moves away from the Saints, including to current club Sheffield Wednesday in the 2002-03 season. Eventually, Monk signed for Swansea City in 2004, and went on to spend a decade playing at the Liberty Stadium. Monk was appointed as Swansea’s player-manager in February 2014 and hung up his boots to become the club’s permanent boss later that year. He spent just under two years at the helm, before being sacked in December 2015.
Monk then became manager of Leeds United, but resigned after a solitary season at Elland Road, during which the Whites missed out on a play-off place. He took up the reigns at newly relegated Middlesbrough in June 2017, but was dismissed from the Riverside Stadium only six months later. After an eighteen-month spell at Birmingham City, Monk arrived at Sheffield Wednesday in September 2019, his fifth and current managerial position.
Speaking to Sheffield Wednesday’s club website ahead of this Saturday's match, Monk said: “We’ll be starting with a nothing to lose attitude. We know we have to try and put points on board, and we will try to set out and use that as an advantage. We have to be organised and structured, but we have got to have a no fear attitude.”
On the Bluebirds, he added, “Our first game is probably as tough as it comes. We have had a good preparation and we are looking to take that into this game and the games before the international break.”
Opposition Focus: The new lads
The end of the 2019-20 season saw a number of seasoned professionals depart Hillsborough, including last season’s club top scorer, Steven Fletcher, and Welsh left-back Morgan Fox, who both went on to join Stoke City. Fernando Forestieri returned to his native Italy with Udinese, striker Sam Winnall joined Oxford United, and midfield duo Sam Hutchinson and Kieran Lee departed on free transfers.
Monk has added five new faces to his Wednesday squad thus far, with several weeks of the transfer window remaining. Chey Dunkley and Josh Windass joined from recently relegated Wigan Athletic, though defender Dunkley will be unavailable for tomorrow’s clash due to injury.
Elias Kachunga (pictured above) signed for the Owls following the expiration of his contract at Huddersfield Town, whilst Fisayo Dele-Bashiru, a midfielder, arrived on a free transfer from Manchester City. Playmaker Izzy Brown signed a season-long loan deal from Chelsea; Brown spent last season on loan with Luton Town, where he registered eight assists and a single goal.
Opposition Focus: Ones to watch
Scottish midfielder Barry Bannan (above) was named as the new club captain of Sheffield Wednesday last month, having solidified himself as an integral part of the Owls’ starting line-up. Bannan has been at Hillsborough since 2015, and played 44 of Wednesday’s 46 Championship fixtures last season, scoring twice and assisting eight goals.
Of his new role as Owls captain, the Scot said, “It’s a massive honour. This is my sixth season here now and I’ve got a good connection with the club, so obviously I’m delighted to be given the chance to captain the boys, and hopefully lead them to success over the coming seasons.”
Defender Dominic Iorfa was named as the Owls Player of the Year for the 2019-20 season, following an impressive campaign at Hillsborough. Having arrived from Wolverhampton Wanderers in January 2019, Iorfa made 45 appearances across all competitions in his first full season with Wednesday, and, despite joining as a right-back, cemented his preferred position in the centre of defence.
Up front, striker Josh Windass will look to nail down a starting berth in Monk’s 3-5-2 formation this term. The attacker initially joined the Owls on a loan deal last season, arriving in January 2020 from Wigan Athletic. During his temporary stint at Hillsborough, Windass made nine appearances and scored three goals, prompting manager Monk to acquire the former Rangers man on a permanent basis ahead of the new campaign.