Crystal Palace vs Cardiff (preview)
League leaders Cardiff City travel to Selhurst Park to face the Peter Taylor's Eagles. The match will b e a tough one with Palace having an excellent home record as well as a well balanced squad of talent and experience. Palace currently lie in 5th place in the Championship and 6 points behind Cardiff but have taken 7 points from the last 9 on offer as well as losing just one home game from 5 this season. James Scowcroft and defender Leon Cort lead the scoring charts with 3 goals each while former Cardiff winger Jobi McAnuff has 2 and has been in particularly dangerous form recently. McAnuff is a pacy and direct winger brought to Cardiff for a short time under Lennie Lawrence but was sold to cover City's huge debts and Crystal Palace came in with a £250k bid. McAnuff can play either side and will be a potent threat having already interested Charlton and Portsmouth this season. Tom Soares and Welshman Carl Fletcher are both available after recovering from ankle injuries to boost the Eagles midfield, while Lewis Grabban has been recalled from loan at Oldham and may be included in the squad.
Cardiff City make one one enforced chance to their line-up with Kevin McNaughton's hamstring injury sidelining him for several weeks. Cardiff do have options to cover however and the loan acquisition of James Chambers from Watford has increased the depth available. A straight swap is the most likely choice for Dave Jones with the pacy Chambers coming into left back. The other option is for Joe Ledley to play left back, with Paul Parry on the left and Malvin Kamara on the right wing. One other chance could be the replacement of Riccy Scimeca, the in-form player twisting an ankle in training on Tuesday and unlikely to make the game. Scimeca has been excellent all season and will be missed, Willo Flood is the most likely candidate to replace him. Flood has had little game time so far but looks a neat and tenascious player and now has a chance to stake a claim for a regular place. Nick McKoy could also come into the central midfield place, the youngster being a very similar player to Scimeca.
Parry and Ledley were the only City players to play International football this week with the rest of the squad given several days rest. Hopefully the break will not affect City's form and those carrying niggling injuries will be back to full fitness. A point would represent a good result for the Bluebirds but with the team in such good form and Michael Chopra hungry for more goals, Cardiff could well go for the win. Either way both sides like to attack and a fast paced match between to in-form sides pushing for promotion should make for a good spectacle. Many Cardiff fans are travelling after the away allocation was increased on request.