Championship Preview: Cardiff look to get back on track against woefully out-of-form Wolves

The Bluebirds have faltered on recent weeks, diminishing their lead at the top of the table, but will be confident of securing a result against Dean Saunders' hapless outfit
With their lead at the top of the Championship diminishing in recent weeks, Cardiff are in need of a confidence boost as they prepare to face Wolves this weekend.

The Bluebirds had opened up a 12-point gap not so long ago, but an inconsistent run of three wins in six games has seen second-placed Hull City cut that deficit to just five.

Malky Mackay's men suffered just their second home defeat of the season to Brighton in midweek and defender Matt Connolly has called on his side to respond in the best possible way.


Bristol City
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Hull City
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Crystal Palace
He told reporters: "It happens. We lost against Peterborough but went on and didn't lose for nine games.

"We will look to bounce back again. Losing happens to the best teams.

"Manchester United have lost games they should have won and thrown away leads but have gone on to win the league.

"In football, it happens every week, favourites lose and it happens."

Meanwhile, the Midlands club are still searching for their first win of the calendar year and manager Dean Saunders, a product of Swansea's youth academy as a player, has warned his players that consecutive relegations would be a disaster for Wolves.

Saunders told BBC WM: "Hopefully the reality will hit home because I've been trying to drum it into the players since I got here.

"If we don't stay in this league, it would be a disaster for the club.

"We should have enough in that dressing room to get better results than we're getting, though saying that we've lost three games since I've been here, all by 2-1, and we could have won them all.  

"We have to dig in, we have turn up against Cardiff and pull ourselves out of it."

Just above the Old Gold in the table and in the last safe spot sit Huddersfield, who host Ipswich, managed by former Wolves boss Mick McCarthy.

The Terriers have conceded 10 goals in two games since Mark Robins replaced Simon Grayson as manager and the former Coventry boss has been mortified by his "embarrassing" start at the John Smith's Stadium.

"I'd expect the players to be devastated because I am. This is the most embarrassed I have been as a manager," he told BBC Radio Leeds.

Cardiff's once watertight defence has begun to look a little leaky in the last few weeks as the Bluebirds' now typical late-season jitters kick in. They will need their captain to lead by example at the back and inspire confidence in the side once again as they aim for a top-flight place.
Huddersfield failed to replace the goals of Jordan Rhodes this season and have slumped alarmingly in recent weeks. Vaughan still holds the record as the Premier League's youngest goalscorer but will need to sharply improve his tally of six strikes from 25 games to ensure the Terriers survival.
Chris Wood and Darius Henderson scored 18 of Millwall's 42 league goals this season, but neither are at the club now. The former Ipswich man is the Lions' current top scorer and will have to start finding the net if they are to avoid a relegation scrap.
"The last 180 minutes has been poor and it has been a baptism of fire, that's for sure.

"As a new manager you want to get off to a good start and it hasn't happened yet. We have to pick ourselves up quickly.

"Everyone has seen we need real men and players who are willing to stand up and be counted.

"We're in the midst of a real scrap and the strongest survive."

After pulling away from the drop-zone with good under form under McCarthy, the Tractor Boys have won jsut twice on their last eight games to leave them looking over their shoulders once more, but Luke Chambers is not concerned by the blip.

Chambers told BBC Radio Suffolk: "We know what brings success and got us a decent run when the gaffer came in.

"I think we've got enough quality in that dressing room to mean we shouldn't have any problems getting ourselves out of the trouble we're in."

Two teams desperate to find form meet at the Riverside as Middlesbrough host Millwall.

Boro have seen their tilt for the top two rocked by a run of six defeats in their last eight games but defender Stephen McManus, who has been recalled to the side due to recent injuries, thinks his side can still go up.

He told the club's official website: "Every game between now and the end of the season is a massive game.

"But look at the quality we have got all over the pitch - we have nothing to fear.

"I have loved my time here and hopefully I can play my part between now and the end of the season. If I can help in that in any way, that is what I want to do."

Both clubs are still in the FA Cup, but suffered heavy defeats in midweek.

Lions boss Kenny Jackett insists his players have not been distracted by the cup run, despite a 5-1 reverse against Peterborough leaving his side six points above the bottom three and without a league win since New Year's Day.

He told reporters: "We've lost five games on the trot now in our division and it seems to have run alongside a very good cup run.

"I don't think the two are connected, I just don't think that we had enough tonight to be honest.

"We had an awful lot of the ball right the way through the game and didn't do enough with it.

"We had no cutting edge up front and, in terms of our defending, we didn't have the awareness and Peterborough were capable of breaking from the first minute."

The week in headlines
  • Hull City have signed Peterborough playmaker George Boyd on loan until the end of the season. The attacker was denied a January move to Nottingham Forest due to a failed eye test.
  • David Ngog's agent has been forced to dismiss rumours that the Bolton striker is on the brink of a move to Ukranian giants Dynamo Kiev.
  • Harry Kane completed two deals in one day on Thursday as he signed a new contract with Tottenham and then joined Leicester on loan for the rest of the season.
  • With Barnsley surging to safety, they were boosted by the arrival of Ryan Tunnicliffe from Manchester United, but that news has been tempered by left-back Scott Golbourne being ruled out for the rest of the campaign.
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