Date:Friday December 1 2006
Colchester United are the visitors to Ninian Park this weekend and arrive in high spirits after a 5-1 demolition of Hull midweek. The U`s have recovered miraculously from a slow start and now lie in 8th place after scoring 8 goals in their last 2 games. They have already beaten Cardiff this season, triumphing by 3 goals to 1 at Layer Road. Colchester boss Geraint Williams is a Cardiff City fan at heart but is looking for the double over his hometown club. The U`s have a fantastic home record (they lie 2nd on home form alone) but have just 1 win on the road this season.
Cardiff are in a poor patch at the moment, ironically brought on by that defeat at Colchester. Since then Cardiff have picked up just 4 points from 4 games and have looked increasingly fragile of late. This game may provide the opportunity to exorcise those demons and get the team back to the extremely high standards they have set for themselves. Cardiff have scored just 1 goal in that period and will need to re-discover their killer touch after missing a plethora of chances after seemingly suffering a loss of confidence.
Chris Barker, the left back on loan from Cardiff, is unavailable due to the terms of his loan agreement, Barker also missed the win over Hull through suspension and was replaced by George Elokobi. Kevin Watson is also pushing for a recall after playing for the reserves and appearing as a substitute midweek. Jamie Cureton has 10 goals already this season, while strike partner Chris Iwelumo bagged 4 against Hull. Youngster Jamie Guy gave Cardiff a hard time at Layer Road but the star of the CUFC line-up is versatile right-back Greg Halford, his tall and athletic build have alerted clubs to his consistent performances and he has 3 goals to his name so far this season with Premiership and a host of Championship clubs interested.
Cardiff have injury problems to contend with in Kerrea Gilbert, whilst Stephen McPhail is banned after his appeal against a red card was unsuccessful. His likely replacement, Willo Flood, is only just returning to fitness after a thigh strain so may not make the Colchester clash. Dave Jones` most likely decision would be to switch Joe Ledley into the middle with Kamara and Parry on the flanks. This leaves Cardiff short of any real options on the bench so youngsters Nick McKoy or Darcy Blake may also be involved.
Cardiff will be looking for a good performance to get back on top and they will hope that the good crowds at Ninian Park will not have disappeared after such a minor blip in form. The team really doesn`t deserve that.
Date:Friday December 1 2006
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