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Match Previews

CARDIFF CITY PREVIEW

31 January 2022

The pre-match lowdown ahead of Wednesday night and our Sky Bet Championship clash with the Bluebirds here at Oakwell.

The Reds face Cardiff City on Wednesday 2 February in a 7.45pm kick-off on home soil, knowing that time is running out with every passing week in this continuing struggle to climb away from the Championship drop-zone. 

We are now 27 matches into this increasingly arduous league campaign. And still, we have emerged victorious on just two occasions. It's a staggering lack of form, but just as surprising is the fact that the gap between this Reds side and safety remains at eight points.

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That is despite our latest loss at the weekend, which was possibly the harshest we've suffered in a while. Yes, our visitors from Bournemouth could have been out of sight inside the opening quarter, but Barnsley were not - for once - without their own big chances. 

Indeed, the second half probably belonged to the Reds who were again under the charge of assistant coach Ferran Sibila, as his boss and theirs continued to recover at his home in the town from the effects of COVID-19. 

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The Spaniard and a number of players, post-match, described the plan against the Cherries as 'going back to basics'. That meant a return to a back three, more direct passing and some pleasing moments in a match that had Reds supporters right behind their efforts.

But it was a momentary mistake that once again scuppered Barnsley. Perhaps affected by the strong winds, goalkeeper Brad Collins was caught out by a long ball on 12 minutes and some committed forward play saw the Cherries take a one-goal lead that would prove to be enough for a vital three points in terms of their own seasonal aspirations. 

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There were first league starts for both Rémy Vita and Matty Wolfe, with both excelling. The latter added some calm to the deeper midfield areas and was assured in possession, whilst the French youngster grew into the contest and was a key threat from his left wing-back position, particularly in the closing stages. 

A debut for Monk Bretton teenager Aiden Marsh was close to being filed under the 'dream' category, as within 30 seconds of his first Reds appearance he met an Aaron Leya Iseka lay-off with real venom but the left-footed drive from 25 yards out was too close to the visiting 'keeper to overly trouble him. 

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It was, despite the above positives, a fourth consecutive league defeat. 

Attentions now quickly turn to midweek and the visit of struggling Cardiff City to Oakwell. The Bluebirds, despite those struggles will maybe feel a little more perky after grabbing their first win in seven outings when they defeated high-flying Nottingham Forest on Sunday afternoon in the Welsh capital. 

Debutanté striker Jordan Hugill made an instant impact at the CC Stadium, coolly finishing into the bottom corner to give Cardiff a lead against Forest, with substitute Isaak Davies adding a second after the break.

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The visitors - who easily turned over the Reds a week ago - did grab a late consolation, and thus took away what would have been just a second Bluebirds clean sheet of the 21/22 season. 

That victory pushed Cardiff six points above the relegation zone, and a dozen better off than Barnsley. It was a pleasing end to a good few days for the man in charge, Steve Morison.

The former Welsh international striker took over the reins at the end of November following the dismissal of Barnsley legend Mick McCarthy, and he'll have been delighted to see Hugill get off the mark so soon. 

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The Bluebirds have been busy in the transfer market during this January window, utilising the loan system. Full-back Cody Drameh joined from Leeds United, left-sided midfielder Alfie Doughty arrived from Stoke City and promising youngster Tommy Doyle swapped Man City for Wales. 

Our Oakwell home is a happy hunting ground for Cardiff too. Unbeaten on their last seven trips up here, going all the way back to 2009 when Carl Dickinson blasted home an injury time free-kick to hand the Reds their last home win against the Bluebirds. 

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Last season at this venue saw the sides battle it out in a 2-2 draw. A game notable for Mads Andersen scoring his first goal for the club, and some very dubious refereeing decisions that helped the visitors to an undeserved point. 

The man in the middle on this occasion is set to be the experienced Geoff Eltringham. From County Durham, this will be his second midweek Oakwell trip this season, having been in charge of our 3-1 September loss to Forest.

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Wednesday night’s game against the Bluebirds will be broadcast live in the UK by both Sky Sports (red button) and iFollow Barnsley

You can buy a match pass to watch the game for £10 in the UK - just click the link below for more information.

iFollow 


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