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Preview: Blues v Cardiff City

It is a very difficult game for us, but we play at home and I am sure together with the fans we will create a good atmosphere and I am confident we can win.

Pep Clotet.

Our full match preview ahead of Saturday's Sky Bet Championship fixture between Blues and Cardiff City at the St. Andrew's Trillion Trophy Stadium (3pm kick-off).

Pep Clotet on how he has to be pragmatic when it comes to his team selection and style of play....
"There is no-one more proud of the identity we are building than the players, myself and the whole club. No-one. It’s our job to be flexible to adapt our style to what we face in the competition. The Championship is relentless and about making sure you are in a situation you can get the points every week. Sometimes you need to tweak a few things. With the squad almost back, all this work we have put in has put us in a situation where we can be flexible and tweak things, get as many points so that we are safe as soon as possible - then we can build We know our identity, we are proud of it but of course it’s early days. We need to keep growing as a whole. The only moment I have been worried was after we drew three games against Sheffield, Huddersfield and Millwall because we were not getting a yield in goals offensively. We were having to use more resources to make sure we were scoring goals, were having good football, a lot of shots, a lot of chances but we were not yielding from those chances. As a coach you worry because as soon as the tide turns and you lose a goal it becomes a very difficult game - at that moment the team looked like we needed to be better going forward, how we use our resources to make sure we get forward a little bit better. I think the team has been doing a fantastic job with that. Slowly we are building, it’s a very slow process. Saturday is a fantastic opportunity for us to show the fans we are progressing and want to add more points."

Pep Clotet on playing either Dan Crowley or Kerim Mrabti at the moment and the set-up of the team...
"Kerim offers us a few things and Dan offer us different things. I would love for Dan to offer the things Kerim does and love for Kerim to do the things Dan does. But I think they are complementary a well, in my mind it’s not one or the other, I think they can play together. Dan can play inside or outside, he played outside against Cardiff in the first game and was very good. He can play as a ten or as a wing. And I think Kerim is playing in his best position now."

Pep Clotet on what he expects from Cardiff...
"I am expecting a very competitive game, a club that was in the Premier League last season, they have a lot of resources available to configure a team that could afford the luxury of being very strong in the middle of the week but still rest some important players. We are expecting a similar team to the one they had against Swansea. They have had injuries that have affected them a little bit in some areas but still they are very strong. Neil Harris has put his mark on to the team, they have individual players who are very dangerous and as a team they are very competitive. It is a very difficult game for us, but we play at home and I am sure together with the fans we will create a good atmosphere and I am confident we can win."

Blues team news...
Harlee Dean is suspended for two games after picking up a red card during the win at Luton last time out. In the Blues captain's absence Pep Clotet will consider Marc Roberts if he deems the defender fit enough following his return from an ankle injury. If Roberts doesn't make it, Clotet has indicated that Wes Harding will start. Midfielder Ivan Sunjic is available after completing a one-match suspension. Maikel Kieftenbeld (knee) is back in training but will need some Under-23 matches to get up to speed after so long out.

Cardiff team news...
Winger Nathaniel Mendez-Laing is sidelined with a hamstring injury. Several players who were rested for the midweek trip to Carlisle in the FA Cup could return.

Last five meetings between Blues and Cardiff...
Championship 02 Nov 2019 Cardiff 4 Blues 2
Championship 10 Mar 2018 Cardiff 3 Blues 2
Championship 13 Oct 2017 Blues 1 Cardiff 0
Championship 11 Mar 2017 Cardiff 1 Blues 1
Championship 06 Aug 2016 Blues 0 Cardiff 0

Total meetings between Blues and Cardiff...
Blues wins: 29
Draws: 16
Cardiff wins: 27

Form guide last five games...
Blues: DLLWW
Cardiff: WLDDW

Line-ups last league game...
Luton Town v Blues (4-2-3-1): Camp, Colin, Pedersen, Dean, Clarke-Salter, Gary Gardner (Harding 88), Davis, Maghoma, Mrabti (Bellingham 78), Bela (Crowley 90+3), Jutkiewicz
Subs (not used): Montero, McEachran, Gimenez, Trueman.

Cardiff City (4-2-3-1) v Swansea City): Smithies, Peltier, Bennett, Morrison, Bacuna, Glatzel (Paterson 70), Pack, Nelson, Tomlin, Whyte (Murphy 70), Hoilett.
Subs (not used): Etheridge, Flint, Vaulks, Richards, Ward.

BluesTV...
Only BluesTV subsribers in 'dark market' countries will be able to watch this game. Click here for a list of applicable countries. However, you will still be able to listen to exclusive commentary on BluesTV. For details, click here.

Match officials...
Andy Davies will take charge of Saturday's game at the St. Andrew's Trillion Trophy Stadium. So far this season the Hampshire-based official has refereed 21 games, where he has produced a total of 72 yellow cards, two reds, and awarded eight penalties. The last Blues game he refereed was our Sky Bet Championship away fixture at Rotherham in April 2019. Blues won that match 3-1 and there were four players cautioned; including Gary Gardner for the visitors. He has refereed eight Blues game to date; with Blues winning three of them, drawing one and losing four. The last Cardiff game that he refereed was their Sky Bet Championship away fixture at Reading in August 2019. Cardiff lost that game 3-0 and there were three players booked in total; including Leandro Bacuna and Joe Ralls for the visitors. He has refereed nine Cardiff games to date, with The Bluebirds winning seven of them and losing two. Mr Davies will be assisted on Saturday by Mark Dwyer and Geoffrey Russell, with Paul Marsden acting as the fourth official.

Tickets...
Tickets are on general sale. For prices and purchasing details, click here.

Supporter message...
The Club urges all supporters to be responsible in their behaviour and actions. Birmingham City knows that the overwhelming majority of our supporters do not indulge in anti-social activities and are passionate about the players and the Club. We appreciate this. We adopt a zero-tolerance stance on anti-social behaviour and spectator misconduct. This includes - amongst other things - drunkenness, throwing of missiles and use and carrying of pyrotechnics (flares, smoke bombs), racist and/or homophobic chanting. Pitch encroachment is forbidden and against the law. Please DO NOT encroach onto the pitch. Any person found to be encroaching on the pitch will automatically be served with a banning order - regardless of the circumstances. It is important that bottles, coins, flares and other items not thrown at our matches. Again, we would like to thank the overwhelming majority of supporters for their backing and their understanding.

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