At the start of the season, pundits classified these two sides completely differently, with Cardiff tipped for success following their playoff failure last season while Barnsley were expected to struggle. Both teams appointed new managers and experienced vast changes in personnel and following these moves, one will be surprised to hear that just two points and two places separate the clubs with Cardiff sat in 13th while Barnsley are in 15th.
After losing many of their key players through the summer, new Cardiff manager Malky Mackay was always going to have a huge rebuilding job on his hands. However, after recruiting several talented players through pre-season, hopes at the Cardiff City Stadium were renewed. The club started the campaign very well and found themselves up in the playoffs for the opening weeks of the season. However, in recent times they have slipped down the league and their supporters will be deeply dissatisfied with their placing of 13th. Admittedly, just three points separate them from the top six, but Mackay knows that recent form is behind their slump down the division. The Bluebirds approach this clash having failed to win in their last three and having conceded a late goal to lose 4-3 to Peterborough during the week, confidence amongst Mackay’s men could be low.
In contrast, Barnsley supporters are delighted with how their campaign is going. Despite being labeled as certain relegation contenders, the Tykes have kept their head above water and look an extremely impressive outfit. They have lost just once in their last nine games and with Keith Hill’s men holding a sterling away record, they should approach the Cardiff City Stadium with plenty of confidence. They bounced back from a 2-0 defeat to Portsmouth last weekend with a comfortable 2-0 win over Burnley several days ago and that result means that they are actually closer to the playoffs than the bottom three.
As for team news, it’s mixed for the home side who should be able to welcome back Kenny Miller after the striker missed the last couple of games with a groin problem. On the flip side, Rudy Gestede looks unlikely to play as a hamstring injury continues to hinder him. Barnsley on the other hand are sweating on the fitness of Jay McEveley and Bobby Hassell, who both missed the victory over Burnley during the week. Keith Hill still has plenty of other injury concerns though, with the likes of Matt Done, Danny Haynes and Reuben Noble-Lazarus still on the treatment table.
Barnsley have a good record at the Cardiff City Stadium and also approach this clash with some very good form behind them. We don’t think they have what it takes to collect all the points, but we think they’ll definitely be able to record at least a draw – 0-0.