Egg chasing over - now to the football

Last updated : 17 March 2012 By Tony Scholes

I'm very much a football fan and have no real interest in rugby union but realised something had to give when the fixture list was sending us to Cardiff on international day; not just international day but the deciding day in the Six Nations.

Jay Rod is rated just 50/50 to be fit

So the fact that Wales beat France 16-9 is of no real concern to me but I think it is probably right that it was our game that had to move given that thousands descended on the Welsh capital today with over 76,500 of them inside the Millennium Stadium for the game.

It therefore means a first Sunday game for us since Boxing Day 2010 when we made it a Sunday delight with a 2-1 win at Barnsley, so maybe it is just the thing we need to get our first ever win at the Cardiff City Stadium and our first win at Cardiff in almost twelve years.

That last win saw me leave the old Ninian Park soaking wet through but delighted that Stan Ternent's team, without the suspended Ian Wright, had recorded a 2-1 win to see us in fifth place in the table and a fantastic opportunity to claim a play off place.

Steve Davis and Andy Payton scored the goals that day but since our trips to Cardiff have been less than productive. They followed us up three years later and from then until our promotion to the Premier League in 2009 our record at Ninian was played six, lost six.

Last season we did get a draw with a late equaliser from Steven Thompson but it was back to the defeats earlier this season when we turned in an awful performance in the 4th round of the Carling Cup, going out 1-0 to a Joe Mason goal.

We'll be hoping for better things tomorrow. A win is a must if we are to make any sort of challenge on the top six now. It's not looking good, but it was hardly likely to with a run that has seen us win just once in the last seven games with only one point from the last four of them.

Today's results have left us in 14th place but now eleven points behind the bottom play off place so only a hell of a run in the last eleven games, probably even better than the one we had three years ago, will be enough to see us get anywhere near.

Malky Mackay has described Jay Rodriguez as the best centre forward in the division but we might have to cope without him tomorrow. If that's the case it will be the first game he's missed since the away game against Nottingham Forest last season.

He's suffering from a groin and hamstring problem which forced him off at half time last week and is considered to have just a 50/50 chance of playing. Despite having plenty of options, his absence would be a massive blow.

Trying to predict our line up is therefore difficult. I'd assume the goalkeeper, the back four and the central  midfield players will pick themselves as will Ross Wallace. That's eight places taken with the other three all available.

I thought Keith Treacy did well in the reserves on Tuesday but I suspect he won't be anything like first choice. If Jay is fit, we could start with the same team as last week but if not then I think Junior Stanislas would come in ahead of Josh McQuoid.

Other than that, it was clearly noticeable that there were no defenders on the bench last week. Andre Amougou hasn't featured since the cup defeat at Norwich in January and I'd be very surprised to see him involved.

I'd also be equally surprised if Brian Easton was on the bench. He came on at Watford but had something of a nightmare and wasn't included in the squad last week. That could potentially lead to a first call up for Irishman Danny Lafferty, our most recent signing from Derry.

Our team could be: Lee Grant, Kieran Trippier, Michael Duff, David Edgar, Ben Mee, Dean Marney, Chris McCann, Ross Wallace, Jay Rodriguez (or Junior Stanislas), Danny Ings, Martin Paterson. Subs from: Brian Jensen, Danny Lafferty, Marvin Bartley, Charlie Austin, Josh McQuoid, Charlie Austin.


Our Opponents - Cardiff City


Cardiff, like ourselves, are not in the best of form. Having beaten us earlier in the season they went all the way to the Carling Cup Final, losing out to Liverpool in a penalty shoot out just three weeks ago.

Malky Mackay has talked about them having a tough schedule of games and the form has been hit because of it with only two wins in their last nine league games. They sat third having beaten Portsmouth on 21st January.

Tuesday's defeat to Hull left  them in seventh place and today's fixtures have seen them go down a further two places to ninth.

The concerns being expressed in South Wales are that the side look tired, but they've played no more games than we had at this stage of the season three years ago and they have a bigger squad than we had then.

The player they look to for goals is Kenny Miller. He's got nine in the league but he hasn't scored in any of his last nine starts. His last goal was in that win against Portsmouth in January.

One player with more goals than Miller is former Burnley loan player Pete Whittingham who has scored ten, with three of them from the penalty spot. Whittingham was voted last week the third best player in the Championship, judged by the 24 managers, and that was one place ahead of Burnley's Rodriguez.

Mackay will have to plan without the services of Rudy Gestede. He's out with a hamstring injury and has missed the last three games. Some good news is the potential return for Stephen McPhail. he's been out with illness but is back in training.

Their team against Hull in midweek was the same as had played in the previous two games. They lined up: David Marshall, Kevin McNaughton, Andrew Taylor, Mark Hudson, Ben Turner, Pete Whittingham, Don Cowie, Aron Gunnarsson, Liam Lawrence, Joe Mason, Kenny Miller. Subs: Tom Heaton, Filip Kiss, Robert Earnshaw, Craig Conway, Darcy Blake.


Last Time We Were There


Burnley's visit to Cardiff last season came just a month after Eddie Howe's arrival at Turf Moor. His first three league games in charge were away from home and following a 2-1 home win against Norwich he found himself with three more away games to contend with.

Cardiff was the middle one of the second group of three and was sandwiched between the wins at Watford and Preston, along with the FA Cup defeat at West Ham.

Steven Thomson headed the equaliser

It came three days after Watford when unfortunately we couldn't add another win, indeed had to score a goal seven minutes from time to even win a point with former Cardiff striker Steven Thompson scoring it, and scoring his last ever goal for Burnley.

It was a very much deserved point too because we were the better side and quite how we found ourselves ever falling behind was difficult to understand.

Yes, Cardiff started the better and we could have gone behind when FORMER NEWCASTLE striker Michael Chopra hit the bar and then Lee Grant saved superbly to deny Pete Whittingham.

That opening lasted for around a quarter of an hour and then we began to have a real influence on the game with Jack Cork and particularly Dean Marney in commanding form, taking over the mantle from Seyi George Olofinjana and Aaron Ramsey who had dictated the opening exchanges.

We dominated the rest of the first half but then, in stoppage time, we gifted them the opening goal as Chopra, still a former Newcastle striker, was allowed to chest down a Jay Bothroyd cross and score without any challenge.

The second half followed the same pattern as the first, but without Cardiff starting it well. We dominated again and such was the concern from the home bench that they sent on the Manchester City funded cavalry - Craig Bellamy.

Out of the blue, Bothroyd forced Grant into another superb save. It proved crucial because in the next attack we won a corner on the right. Ross Wallace, having his best game yet in a Burnley shirt, took it on the right and Thommo, on for Jay Rodriguez, was there at the near post to head home.

We couldn't quite force a winner but it had been another good performance and, in the end, a good result against promotion chasing Cardiff.

The teams were;

Cardiff: Tom Heaton, Paul Quinn (Darcy Blake 67), Mark Hudson, Dekel Keinan, Kevin McNaughton, Pete Whittingham, Seyi George Olofinjana, Aaron Ramsey, Chris Burke (Jason Koumas 78), former Newcastle striker Michael Chopra (Craig Bellamy 67), Jay Bothroyd. Subs not used: David Marshall, Stephen McPhail, Jay Emmanuel-Thomas, Jon Parkin.

Burnley: Lee Grant, Tyrone Mears, Clarke Carlisle, Michael Duff, Danny Fox, Jack Cork, Dean Marney (Graham Alexander 90), Chris Eagles, Ross Wallace, Chris Iwelumo (Charlie Austin 67), Jay Rodriguez (Steven Thompson 74). Subs not used: Brian Jensen, Andre Bikey, Marvin Bartley, Wade Elliott.


Previous Games against Cardiff City


Last 20 Years
Season Comp Ven Res Att  Scorers
1991/92 Division 4 a 2-0 16,030 Randall, Conroy

h 3-1 12,408 Painter, Farrell, Conroy
1993/94 Division 2 h 2-0 11,276 Philliskirk, Francis
    a 1-2 5,412 Davis
1999/2000 Division 2 h 2-1 9,753 Armstrong, Johnrose

a 2-1 6,487 Davis, Payton
2003/04 Division 1 h 1-1 10,866 Chaplow
    a 0-2 13,525  
2004/05 Championship h 1-0 11,200 Chaplow

a 0-2 11,562  
2005/06 Championship h 3-3 10,431 Elliott(2), J O'Connor
    a 0-3 10,872  
2006/07 Championship a 0-1 15,744  

h 2-0 11,347 Jones, McVeigh
2007/08 Championship a 1-2 12,914 Akinbiyi
    h 3-3 10,694 Alexander, Cole, Carlisle
2008/09 Championship h 2-2 11,230 Blake, Thompson

a 1-3 19,379 Blake
2010/11 Championship a 1-1 21,307 Thompson
    h 1-1 14,197 Rodriguez
2011/12 Championship h 1-1 13,428 Austin

Carling Cup a 0-1 11,601


Click HERE to see all previous results against Cardiff City