Cardiff vs Sunderland (preview)
Cardiff City prepare to entertain the divisions in-form side Sunderland in a crucial game at Ninian Park.
The Black Cats endured a truly awful start to the season, but have been steadily improving since then under the tough guidance of Irishman Roy Keane. The new manager's promise to instill some fight into his charges has paid off and they find themselves nipping at the heels of the automatic promotion places and with momentum firmly on their side.
Sunderland are unbeaten in 2007, 13 games without a league defeat in all and they have won a staggering 10 of those fixtures including impressive wins over Derby and West Brom.
Highly rated striker Anthony Stokes, signed from Arsenal is a player with a bright future, while David Connelly is a proven stiker and leads the scoring charts with 11 league goals. His teammates have stated there is no striker outside the Premiership they would swap him for.
Also included in their formidable ranks are one time Cardiff City target Stephen Elliot, Ex Manchester United star Dwight Yorke and former Cardiff City favourite Graham Kavanagh. 'Kav' has been inspirational for Sunderland and his presence on and off the pitch has been important in their impressive run since Christmas.
Cardiff City are playing reasonably well of late, but have struggled to put a string of results together. An excellent fightback at Southampton, followed by a 3-1 reversal at Derby leaves them in 7th place, a point behind WBA who occupy the final play-off position.
5 consecutive home wins for the Bluebirds is an impressive statistic and should give Dave Jones' men the confidence to take Sunderland on and go for the win. Cardiff could really do with a win, or at least a draw. With the upcoming games, all winnable fixtures, Cardiff need to keep touch with the play-off pack and a win over the Black Cats would leave them in a strong position.
Michael Chopra and Riccy Scimeca are doubtful, both will have late tests while centre-backs Darren Purse and Glenn Loovens are both ruled out. (Full team news to follow later).
VitalCardiff predicted a 2-1 defeat for the Bluebirds, click HEREto read other members' predictions and leave your own.