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Cardiff City 2 v 1 Southampton
SkyBet Championship
Saturday, 20th April 2024 Kick-off 15:00
Southampton At Cardiff City The Preview
Friday, 19th Apr 2024 14:05

Saints begin a run of two games in four days that could see them either top of the table or with their automatic promotion dreams in tatters, some of that is dependent on results elsewhere, so all we can do is win at the Cardiff City Stadium.

Southampton travel to South Wales to take on Cardiff City for what could be a pivotal weekend and indeed four days that shake the World or at least the Championship.

Both teams have their issues, Cardiff go into the game with potentially 12 first team players injured according to the The Daily Echo including two player of the season candidates Perry Ng and Karlan Grant, with the Ng out for the rest of the season and Grant set to miss this match.

This will mean that Bluebirds manager Erol Burut will likely have to have academy players on the bench to make up the numbers when Saints come to town with Burut going on to suggest that he might only have 12 or 13 professionals fit or well enough to be named in the squad plus 5 or so youngsters.

Good news for Saints, but we have seen injury issues like this and sometimes it doesn't help the opposition that much as those fringe players in the team tend to be putting in that bit extra to prove they are worth a place more often.

Saints also have an injury or two, Gavin Bazunu is now likely to be out for 9 months and will not play before 2025 and so Martin has to choose who is in his goal between Alex McCarthy & Joe Lumley.

Lumley is said to be very disappointed to put it mildly by the the very public embarrassment he was subjected too when he was not chosen to replace Bazunu on Tuesday when the ever present keeper was injured in the warm up.

Lumley already changed and warmed up was on the bench with Alex McCarthy hastily having to get himself ready with little preparation.

If Martin goes with McCarthy then that could see him having to hone back on the possession football with the keeper not known for his footwork on the ball.

So it will be interesting to see which keeper is chosen.

Also a doubt is Flynn Downes who is managing an injury and is not 100% according to Russell Martin, given that we are playing Leicester only 3 days later I would not be surprised to see Downes rested and on the bench, if that is the case then I hope that it is Shea Charles or Will Smallbone who steps into the gap.

They are midfielders by trade and let's be blunt the experiment with playing Jack Stephens in the centre of midfield did not work whether it was a hybrid or otherwise.

Square pegs in square holes for Saints and as in the victory over Preston, restoring the side to playing the right personnel in the right positions and everyone knowing what their role is and that of everyone else.

The victory over Preston was the first time we had done that for over two months, a game where we were comfortable throughout and controlled the game.

As mentioned at the start, the trip to Cardiff is the start of a pivotal two game, four day period for Southampton, Leicester host West Brom and Leeds go to Middlesbrough on Monday, with Ipswich not playing, if Leicester & Leeds were to fail to win their games at the weekend and we were to win at Cardiff and then repeat that at Leicester, we would then be top of the division and automatic promotion in our own hands.

That is how tight it has been at the top in recent weeks, but first things first we have to do our job against Cardiff, that means a win and a comprehensive one to ensure that we go into the game on Tuesday full of form and confidence.

At Ipswich we showed we can match the best sides, but we shot ourselves in the foot, gave them the game through disorganisation and poor defending, hopefully we have learned our lessons and can put our foot on the gas.

Photo: Action Images

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IanRC added 09:39 - Apr 20
Onwards and upwards hopefully

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