Preston vs Cardiff (preview)
The international break is over and its back to Championship action for City as they travel to Deepdale to face Preston North End. Cardiff will be looking to build on their good start to this season but the international break will not have helped them. Most City players were not on international duty, Joe Ledley made 2 substitute appearances for Wales and Neil Alexander was an unused substitute for Scotland but the momentum may have gone from a City side rampant so far winning 3 games in a row without conceding.
Darren Purse sits out the remaining game of his suspension so Roger Johnson will again deputise although given his form against WBA and Birmingham, another outstanding performance would surely see him retain the centre back position. Johnson has been colossal thus far and only Purse`s captain`s position is likely to win back his place. Paul Parry pulled out of the Wales game but is expecting to be fit for the Preston game, Parry has been outstanding so far and looked a real threat against Birmingham. The winger has been able to train this week and should be available for Saturday. Joe Ledley is another in-form player, currently leading the player`s statistical analysis but picked up a minor toe infection whilst away with Wales. Ledley is likely to be fit but if not, Parry would switch to left wing with either Kamara or Flood slotting in on the right. Ledley`s all round energy would be missed but we do have players capable of covering and both Kamara or Flood would be especially useful in away games.
Preston have been in and around the play-offs for the last few seasons but lost manager Billy Davies to Derby and now have ex-Carlisle boss Paul Simpson in charge. Star defender Tyrone Mears also left for West Ham but they crucially managed to hold onto top striker Dave Nugent. Nugent has been prolific for seasons and attracted Premiership and Championship interest but has remained with the Lilywhites and will lead their line against Cardiff, veteran Danny Dichio will partner him. Another player to watch is young midfielder Simon Whaley, a highly rated player who scored the equaliser against Southampton in Preston`s last game (although somewhat luckily!).
City need to avoid defeat to keep top spot and regain their momentum, the early pace-setters will need to be wary of a solid PNE line-up but City have proved they should fear no-one in the division and will be confident and determined entering the game. C`mon the bluebirds!