Date:Friday August 4 2006
The first game of the season sees Cardiff City on the road (again!) and travelling North to Oakwell and Barnsley FC. Cardiff have further bolstered their ranks this week with the double capture of Willo Flood and Kevin Campbell, a youngster and old pro. both with Premiership experience. City`s team is largely predictable with the exception of who will fill the left wing berth. Joe Ledley, Paul Parry and Kevin Cooper all favour the position and all have laid good claim to the place. Paul Parry is the player most on form and is favourite to take it after a good season where Ledley`s versatility will be a good asset on the bench. It is worth noting that when, or if, Jason Koumas does arrive he will take that position leaving City with almost an embarrassment of riches for widemen, something that cannot have been said for many many years.
Barnsley are newly promoted and the favourites to be relegated from the Championship but do possess some talented individuals themselves most notably Michael McIndoe the feisty but gifted left winger recently signed from Doncaster Rovers and Sam Togwell a highly promising youngster from Crystal Palace. The good news for City is that star striker Danny Nardiello is out of the game with a fractured collarbone. Barnsley have played 5 pre-season games and scored in every one coming close to securing a draw with a strong Wigan side.
There are some points of added interest to the game in that two previous Barnsley heroes are now playing for Cardiff City. Midfield maestro Stephen McPhail was instrumental in Barnsley`s promotion last term but criticised the club for showing a lack of ambition, he refused a new contract and signed for the Bluebirds instead. Michael Chopra is also an ex-Tyke having played there on loan and was a massive hit with the Barnsley fans, they made an approach for Chopra over the summer but were unable to meet Newcastle`s compensation demands. Peter Ridsdale is another returning to a former club being an ex-chairman at Oakwell. The 3 Bluebirds are sure to receive some sort of welcome from the Barnsley faithful.
Come-on the Bluebirds! A good start to the season is vital, and City should be able to overcome the Tykes in a hard fought contest.
Prediction: Barnsley 0-2 Cardiff
Date:Friday August 4 2006
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