After a good run, Cardiff are now on a not so good run. Losses to Forest and Stoke were followed up by a draw with Brentford – though in that game, Cardiff at least showed some fight and came back from 2-0 down and probably should have won the game. A left-backs finish from Joe Bennett and some stellar refereeing from Simon Hooper to blame there. Now, Cardiff embark on a long trip to the north to take on a somewhat resurgent Barnsley – three wins out of their last four, including a 3-0 win away at Fulham – has lifted them off the bottom and given them some hope of survival…
Three things to watch out for
Being up front. The search for a striker who can score consistently continues. Paterson hasn’t scored since Huddersfield – though he did go close against Brentford – so could Harris shuffle his pack up front? Glatzel and Ward are both fit and both have a few goals to their names this season. With Barnsley being a bit of an agricultural place to visit, I can imagine Harris will either stick with Pato or twist with Ward.
Back Pack. Marlon Pack was the fall guy for Ralls return against Brentford. But could Harris bring him back in place of Bacuna at Barnsley? I quite like the idea of Pack acting as a screen and the shackles being released completely on Ralls and Vaulks.
Smith edging closer to debut? Brad Smith was on the bench against Brentford but hasn’t made a start yet for the Bluebirds. He did start in the u-23s in midweek and as reports go, it looked like he did ok. Harris hooked Bennett at half time a few weeks back and one wonders if there’s something more to that behind the scenes. If Harris is feeling so inclined, Smith may get the nod.
Opposition players to watch out for
Cauley Woodrow has been one of the most potent threats for Barnsley this season and if Barnsley do get relegated, I’m sure there will be a bevy of Championship teams looking at signing him. He’s been a regular scorer in recent weeks and will be looking to carry on that run against us.
Elsewhere in their squad, Alex Mowatt and Connor Chaplin are players who have a bit about them and could cause us a threat.
Worst case result
We’ve always seemed to do ok at Barnsley and our head to head record with them is heavily in our favour. But Barnsley are scrapping for their lives at the bottom and have turned things around a little bit recently. They’ll be looking to come away from their last loss and get three points on the board to close the gap on the teams above them. Woodrow has goals in him and if he is on form, he could be the difference. 2-1.
Best case result
Despite results not being good enough in recent games, Cardiff have been creating chances and playing ok. Barnsley is the perfect opportunity to start a run of wins going into our final 10 games of the season. It’s not going to be easy but we need to get our solidity back and not concede after less than 10 minutes. We see out the first half to zero, and the game should be their to win. 2-0.