Norwich vs Cardiff (preview)
Cardiff City travel to Norwich, by air, for tomorrows Championship fixture looking to make it 6 consecutive wins for the Bluebirds. The long trip to East Anglia will be less arduous for the squad as they fly out on saturday morning rather than a 6 hour coach trip. The Bluebirds will wear black armbands for the match in rememberance of those killed or bereaved in the Aberfan disaster which marked its 40th anniversary yesterday.
Cardiff will have to change their line-up for the from Dave Jones' preferred XI (discounting Chambers replacing the injured McNaughton) due to Michael Chopra's suspension. The diminutive Geordie picked up his fifth yellow cards in the win against Crystal Palace and will serve a 1 match suspension. There is no ready made replacement available to Jones as Chopra is currently the top ranked player in the league as well as being the Bluebirds top-scorer with 7 goals. Aside from goals, chopra brings so much to the side in determination and closing down in addition to his excellent understanding with Steve Thompson and Stephen McPhail. Luigi Glombard is the like-for-like replacement in terms of pace but Glombard is virtually untried at Championship level despite being on the bench every week for City. Kevin Campbell could come in but his fitness is a worry as well as he and Thompson being similar target man types. Andrea Ferreti is an outside choice, the Italian striker bagging a brace in the reserve team game this week but favourite would be to move Paul Parry to support Thompson and use Malvin Kamara or Willo Flood on the right wing. Parry has played as a support striker before in his career and looks a yard quicker and more confident than ever this season. He has also scored 3 goals and could link midfield to to Thompson in an away 4-4-1-1 formation as employed by Dave Jones last season in away fixtures such as Leeds Utd. Steve Thompson put in probably his best performance in a Cardiff shirt on Tuesday and capped off a fine performance with a good goal. Kevin McNaughton is again unavailable with a hamstring injury but is recovering well and may start light training next week.
Norwich have this week appointed a new, relatively unknown, manager in ex-Canary Peter Grant who saw his side get off to a great starts with a 1-0 win over Birmingham thanks to Jason Shackell's first goal for the club. Norwich were criticised under Nigel Worthington for making Norwich into a one man team, based too much around Darren Huckerby but Grant has a reputation of demanding 100% from all around him. He has also not ruled out bringing in loan signings before the 5pm deadline tonight but Norwich have a good squad regardless including former City favourite Robert Earnshaw. Earnshaw was a home grown Cardiff product and scored over 100 goals for the Bluebirds. Earnie has 9 league goals already this season and has not score against his hometown club yet. Peter Thorne is also now at Norwich but is unlikely to feature. Former Cardiff target Gary Doherty should start in defence for the canaries and with Adam Drury doubtful at left-back, Dutch defender Jurgen Colin may switch the cover the left back position.
The new manager has brought optimism and expectation back to the East Anglia club and they will be looking forward to a low-pressure game against the league leaders. The team will be up-beat and have nothing to lose so will be a difficult proposition for Cardiff. With Earnshaw and Huckerby up front they have pace in abundance and are always capable of scoring but Cardiff are infantastic form themselves and will be looking to thrive even without talismanic striker Chopra.
Should be a bright entertaining game, but City would probably be happy with a point thought they will certainly travel to win.