Hull City vs Cardiff City (preview)
Cardiff City make the long trip North this weekend to face managerless Hull City. The match will be the second game in charge for caretaker boss Phil Brown as he looks to rescue the Tigers` season and drag them out of the relegation zone. Hull City have picked up just one point from their last 5 matches and have conceded 13 goals in that spell seeing them drop to 23rd place and 6 points adrift of safety.
Hull City boast a wealth of striking options with the likes of Steven McPhee, Michael Bridges and Nicky Forster on their books but top scorer Jon Parkin is out with an ankle injury. Former Swansea and Wales International left-back Sam Ricketts is expected to play in the game after returning from a foot injury that ruled him out for the start of the season and Ex-England player Nicky Barmby may play alone up front as part of a fluid 4-5-2 to 4-3-3 formation. Influential midfielder John Welsh will also miss the game for the Tigers with a shin injury.
Cardiff City are also in a poor spell of form and are without a win in 5, the last game (2-2 vs Ipswich) saw a makeshift team take the field but Cardiff do have players returning to full fitness. Willo Flood is in contention for his first Cardiff start after a badly timed thigh strain saw him sidelined when ready for his first team debut. Kevin Cooper has also regained some match fitness and both players came through a reserve team game midweek and should be fit to play some part in the fixture.
Stephen McPhail serves the last of his 3 game suspension, while Kerrea Gilbert (shoulder) and Paul Parry (thigh) are both some way from a return. In attack Steve Thompson should takeover from veteran Kevin Campbell after another ineffectual performance last week though Thompson will be looking for his first goal since mid-October.
One more welcome selection dilemma comes with the return to full fitness of defender Glenn Loovens who could return at Roger Johnson`s expense.
Alexander, McNaughton, Loovens, Purse, Gunter, Ledley, Flood, Scimeca, Kamara, Thompson, Chopra.
Subs (from): Howard, Campbell, Cooper, Wright, Johnson, Glombard, Blake.
The above side sees Willo Flood start his first Cardiff game in central midfield allowing Joe Ledley to revert to his more familiar left wing role and Kevin McNaughton drop back to left back at Alan Wright`s expense.
Cardiff desperately need a win to regain some form going into the Christmas period and to keep pace with the leaders Birmingham - who opened up a 5 point lead as City slipped to third.