Cardiff City vs Sheffield United - Crunch Time !
Cardiff City host Sheffield United in the Championship season opener, moved to Sunday 12.35pm kick-off to accommodate the live Sky TV coverage. The Blades, like the Bluebirds, are one of a number of clubs with realistic play-off aspirations and both clubs will be looking for the best possible start to the campaign.
The Blades are a difficult side to play against and are always up for a battle. They have some very solid Championship players with midfielder Mark Yeates and Welsh striker Chedwyn Evans posing a real threat. Former Cardiff City midfielder Simon Walton has moved to the Blades on a season long loan from Plymouth Argyle, he has suffered the misfortune of a cruciate knee ligament injury and will miss the entire season. Another key player m,issing through injury is powerful frontman Darius Henderson - the one time CCFC target is a major focal point in the Sheff Utd attack and will be missed on Sunday.
One new face worth of note at Brammall Lane, is former Swansea City midfielder Leon Britton. The diminutive yet stylish player departed the Liberty Stadium to sign for the Blades on a free transfer and will be looking to add more cutting edge to his new club - Britton spoke this week about the warm reception he was expecting from the Cardiff City crowd.
Cardiff City have been under a transfer embargo for much of the close season amid financial uncertainty and unpaid bills. However, yesterday we made a timely escape from the embargo allowing new recruits Tom Heaton, Danny Drinkwater and Jason Koumas to be registered. They will add some much needed back-up to our talented first XI, though Koumas is some way from match fitness and will be a substitute at best.
Joe Ledley departed the club over the summer to join Celtic, we will miss his energy and drive in the middle of the park. Fellow midfielder Stephen McPhail is also ruled out by a knee injury suggesting loanee Drinkwater could be handed his first start alongside Gavin Rae in the engine room.
Cardiff City and Sheffield United have faced each other on many occasions over the past few seasons - they are always tough games. The start to any season can be somewhat of a lottery, but often sets the tone for the nesxt few weeks. Thankfully, recent news from CCS has been highly optimistic and lifted the mood to new heights and the Bluebirds management, players and fans will be looking to start the season with a bang - COME ON BLUEBIRDS !!!
You can leave your prediction for the game, in our Vital Cardiff Forum thread.