Missing key players, low morale and in transition - Cardiff hoping for pick-me-up against Canaries

Tempers flare during the Sky Bet Championship match at Carrow Road, NorwichPicture by Paul Chester

Cardiff City will be hoping to plot their revenge against 'best team in the league' Norwich.

Ahead of Norwich City's trip to South Wales to face Cardiff City, Bluebirds audio commentator Jez Millard joined us to provide the lowdown on Neil Harris' side.

Q: Jez, thanks for joining us. Talk to us a little bit about Cardiff's form at the moment. Is it fair to say things aren't quite as rosy as they are in Norfolk right now?

A: We have both been in the Premier League recently and anytime you come down from the Premier League it is a bit of a lull, to say the least.

Norwich have done well keeping the majority of your squad together, we have probably cut back quite a bit at least on squad size over the last couple of seasons and we are missing some senior players so from that perspective we are struggling, as soon as you have injuries on top of that your team looks very different to your potential best side.

Form wise we have lost four out of five league games one of them against yourselves. I looked and it was less than a month ago which is unusual. The way you played against us last time I probably would not be in a rush to play you again, you played fantastically. When you have got Pukki, Cantwell, Buendía, three quality players who should all probably be in the division above so not overly looking forward to it.

Cardiff City's Sol Bamba celebrates scoring his side's first goal of the game during the Premier Lea

Cardiff City defender Sol Bamba was diagnosed with cancer earlier this week. - Credit: PA

Q: The club are dealing with some terrible news this week; defender Sol Bamba was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin lymphoma. It's been really uplifting to see the messages of support to him. How loved is he by the Cardiff fans?

A: He is definitely a fan favourite and just as a person if you have been following it as soon as the news came out the amount of positive and support and feedback he got from almost every club, not just in the UK but clubs all around Europe and fans.

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He is one of the most likeable, positive and happy gentlemen of the game. As you can see he has come out now and spoken about it and he is happy for all the support, he has read every single one of them and he really wants everybody’s support to get through this.

He is a fighter, he is a battler, from the style of play he has had over the years you can see he is a battler and so if there is anybody who can do it then it is Sol. I think the cure rate on the type of cancer he has is more positive than negative so that is one thing to hold on to.

File photo dated 28-01-2020 of Cardiff City manager Neil Harris.

Neil Harris is man under-pressure in South Wales. - Credit: PA

Q: Can you see Neil Harris adopting a different approach with the hindsight of the game at Carrow Road fresh in his mind?

A: My thoughts on the game this weekend is going to be all dependent on which players we can get back from injury.

We have Sean Morrison is out, Kieffer Moore is a doubt, our style of play is based on whether we can get anything in the box and they are the two guys you want to have in from an attacking perspective. 

I remember in the game it was a bit of a battle, Norwich were a much more settled and organised outfit it seems and we seem to be in a bit of transition under Neil Harris, he is trying to change how we are playing, our possession stats are going up and so that is a positive but, unfortunately, we are looking a bit blunt up the top.

 I think Harris will play the same, you are going to get a hard-working Cardiff team, you are going to get an industrious one. We will press at times, we will sit back at times and we will be comfortable with either.

Q: Neil Harris described Norwich as the 'best team in the league', is that an assessment you agree with having seen all the teams play?

A: I think so, yes, I think the only other team I thought we had quite a good game against was Bournemouth.

They were also a pretty good unit but I would give you the edge over Bournemouth at the moment. I just think yourselves, Bournemouth, Watford those three and obviously Brentford from last year, those four teams at the minute are looking like really strong contenders for the top two. 

I would imagine Norwich would be disappointed if they don’t make the top two given the little bit of cushion you have got and the run of form you are on.

Todd Cantwell of Norwich scores his sides 2nd goal during the Sky Bet Championship match at Carrow R

Todd Cantwell scored for City in the reverse fixture. - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Q: If you were Daniel Farke, what areas of this Cardiff side would you look to target?

A:: I think, based on the last game, if Pukki, Buendia and Cantwell can keep their mobility up and I think the last couple of goals that they scored against us were both probably from drifting inside, just getting in behind our holding midfield in those pockets of space.

It will be that or at the moment right back, unfortunately, we have got Leandro Bacuna playing so that will be the place to target. Other than that I think there is going to battle all across the pitch but it will be the movement of those front three particularly Pukki pulling our centre back and whoever else is alongside Nelson into the places that they don’t want to be and that is where Buendía and Cantwell will exploit the gaps and score.

Q: Score prediction?

A: I'm going to stay positive and go for a 2-1 win.

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