Date:Thursday March 30 2006
1st April 2006
Cardiff City visit St Mary's Stadium, Southampton for the first time ever on saturday having sold their entire ticket allocation already. 2571 Bluebirds will be travelling South hoping for the three points to keep the play-off dream alive.
'The general feeling at Southampton is that the quicker this season ends the better' <'Southampton have a young side full of technical ability, but to play at this level its not all about that.
'So Cardiff have a decent chance on Saturday.'
- Jimmy Case: Ex-Liverpool and Saints defender, now broadcasting with SaintsFM
Southampton lie in 20th place in the Championship, still not safe from relegation. As one of the favourites for promotion back to the Premiership this year, Southampton fans have watched on through the farcical return of Harry Redknapp to close rivals Porstmouth and the slide of a huge club with great facilities and a fantastic new stadium towards the foot of the table. George Burley has taken on the re-building job and Saints have already used over 40 players this season (close to double Cardiff's tally). Long-term absentees include defender Critchell and goalkeeper Bialkowski. Big-names players available include centre-back Lundekvaam, Danny Higginbottom at right-back and Richard Chaplow the midfielder on-loan from WBA
The 27 year old Polish striker is on loan from Tottenham until the end of the season and is a proven goalscorer at Championship level. Rasiak was prolific in Derby's promotion bid last season (also under Burley) and made 9 appearances (4 starts) for Spurs this season.
City are likely to field the same side that drew disappointingly with QPR last week. Dave Jones has shown faith in his players all season and has largely been rewarded. Every time the play-offs look just out of reach, the team step up with a good result. One possible change would be the inclusion of Rhys Weston at right back with the experienced Neal Ardley moving to midfield in place of Cooper, or to the bench. Ardley has been played at right back recently but the tough season seems to have tired him and the added pace of Weston may be called for to allow the right-back to support the attack. Phil Mulryne and long-term injury victim Paul Parry are both unavailable for the trip.
The teenage striker has come in for criticism recently from his team-mates and fans after ill-advised comments to the media regarding his current club and players. Since then he has suffered for confidence and missed several golden oppourtunities to score including one unbelievable miss against Plymouth. The experienced members of the City squad will have spoken to Cameron and I fully expect him to re-discover his form soon, his raw pace and power causes problems for defences when not on form but he will certainly be looking for a goal against the Saints against whom he netted on New Years Eve in a 2-1 win for the Bluebirds.
Cardiff 8th with 59 points
Saints 20th with 43 points
Cardiff vs Reading 8th April 2006
Brighton vs Saints 8th April 2006
Date:Thursday March 30 2006
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