On Wednesday night, Cardiff will host a resurgent Queens Park Rangers at the Cardiff City Stadium in what will be a very good gauge of whether the Bluebirds have finally found their Championship feet.
Many supporters will remember the titanic clash on the 23rd April 2011, when Dave Jones’ Bluebirds hosted a Neil Warnock side on the verge of promotion to the Premier League. The sun was shining and Cardiff were looking forward to hosting the table toppers. Indeed the Welsh capital was hoping to leapfrog Norwich into second.
90 minutes later, four goals (two of which were goal of the season contenders) and two yellow cards, both sets of supporters clapped their teams off the pitch. The dropped points would prove costly to the Bluebirds as they conspired to lose to Reading in the play-off semi-finals (we all know what happened to Swansea who were fifth at the time).
Since then, both teams have experienced similar highs and lows, although Cardiff have fared better in the Championship, but QPR have actually avoided relegation from the Premier League for at least one season.
Cardiff City: Two
Cardiff City: Two
In reality, the Bluebirds and the ‘R’s aren’t too dissimilar with loyal, vocal fan bases and history books that are sketchy at best. Both clubs have also had their fair share of ‘interesting’ chairmen, who have enshrined their names on supporters’ memories for many years to come.
QPR, truth be told, have struggled in the Championship since their last relegation from the Premier League in 2015. In the last four since seasons, they have finished 12th, 18th, 16th and most recently 19th.
This season has seen them start extremely well, only coming a cropper last week against an unbeaten West Bromwich Albion. The Baggies look good value for the play-off’s at least this season and with Bilic at the helm, could be a force to be reckoned with. This makes the Rangers’ defeat less worrying that it perhaps could be.
Cardiff are fast becoming the draw specialists in the Championship and whilst they are unbeaten in six, only two of those have been wins. It has been rocky ride for Warnock’s side this season and it’s only now they are beginning to look like their old selves.
Both sides could do with a win and Neil Warnock won’t let sentimentality get in the way of putting pressure on those play-off chasing sides.
I’ve liked QPR ever since Trevor Sinclair scored one of the greatest overhead kicks I’ve ever seen (Bale not withstanding). Come 10 o’clock on Wednesday night, I hope to see Warnock’s famous punch of delight on the Cardiff pitch. One thing is for certain; both clubs are blessed to have been touched by Colin.