If last week’s Preview From The Ninian felt weird because it was the first one post-Neil Warnock, this one will feel equally as weird as it will be the first time in years Neil Warnock won’t be at the Cardiff City Stadium.
Indeed it will be Neil Harris that will be stood in the home dugout tonight and he’ll be hoping to build upon Saturday’s match against Charlton. Stoke City are the visitors to the Cardiff City Stadium.
Cardiff City v Stoke City
Tuesday 26th November
Cardiff City Stadium
Three things to watch for
Building on the Charlton display. The first half of Neil Harris’ Cardiff debut was largely forgettable. City had better of the ball but more defensive mishaps meant that they found themselves behind at the break. The second half saw a different City side come out and they controlled more of the ball than we’ve seen from Cardiff in a long time. Harris will be pleased with the second half performance and character and will be looking to build on that in his first home game as Cardiff manager.
Morrison for Flint. It’s safe to say that Aden Flint has enjoyed the best of starts to his Cardiff City career. There’s been calls for him to be dropped for a few weeks and after another poor display at Charlton, Neil Harris could recall club captain Sean Morrison. Curtis Nelson has impressed and deserves to keep his place, so it’s Morrison for Flint for us.
Madine Machine. There’s was a bit of a surprise when Gary Madine was given the nod to lead the line on Saturday, but not for this site who predicted Madine would benefit from Harris’ appointment. Madine, on the whole, did fairly well. He’ll no doubt be given another chance by Harris and will be looking to prove his doubters wrong. Expect Lee Tomlin to start – he was so impressive coming off the bench on Saturday – and his creativity could benefit by Gaz.
Stoke players to watch out for
Despite their poor record since being relegated from the Premier League, Stoke City have a good squad and plenty of talent. Jack Butland has made a plethora of mistakes this season but he’s certainly no mug and a recently blunt City will face a challenge beating him.
Wales midfielder Joe Allen is a hero in his home country but isn’t particularly popular among Stoke fans. He’ll be looking to show what he can do against his boyhood club Swansea’s fierce rivals. Here’s hoping he doesn’t recreate that winner from distance for Swansea back at Ninian Park.
Nick Powell and Tom Ince are two former Cardiff targets and both bring creativity and cutting edge to the pitch. You couldn’t write Ince scoring the winner… could you?
Worse case result
Neil Harris will be hoping to impress the Cardiff City Stadium on his first match at home, but if Cardiff perform like they did in their last home match – a loss to Bristol City – the fans won’t be impressed. A loss here would be too early to put pressure on Harris, but wouldn’t help him in winning over the Cardiff fans.
Best case result
Harris builds on that second half performance at Charlton and gets Cardiff purring. There were promising signs and there should be more optimism and pessimism. A Cardiff win and a Gary Madine goal? Yes, please.
Scott is a lifelong Cardiff City fan and freelance football writer. Scott hosts the VFTN podcast.