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The Opposition: Cardiff City

The lowdown on our midweek visitors

22 October 2019

Millwall return to The Den this Tuesday night in the Sky Bet Championship, in Adam Barrett’s third and final game in caretaker charge before the reign of Gary Rowett officially begins. Neil Warnock’s Cardiff City are the visitors, as The Lions attempt to bounce back from Saturday’s blow at Brentford.

Barrett will take charge of the team for the final time of his caretaker spell on Tuesday evening before returning as first-team coach to Rowett and Callum Davidson, and comes up against one of the country’s most experienced managers in Warnock. Three points and six places separate Cardiff and Millwall in the table with the South Wales side in 11th, in what is a very tight mid-table area of the League. The Bluebirds have scored and conceded 17 goals apiece in their first 12 games, and are still seeking their first League away win of the season – in fact their last victory on the road in a League fixture came at Old Trafford against Manchester United back in May.

Following relegation from the top flight at the end of last season, Warnock’s men return to the Championship with a clear aim – helped by their manager’s impressive promotion record. The club have spent two separate seasons in the Premier League both last term and in 2013/14, and have not recorded a finish below the top half of the second tier since 2007. Cardiff’s record-highest finish came as First Division runners-up in 1924, boasting five promotions into the top flight, three FA Cup Finals with one triumph in 1927, and a League Cup Final at Wembley in 2012. The club have competed in 14 European Cup Winners’ Cups, accessed by winning the Welsh Cup, before their ineligibility for the competition following their refusal to join the League of Wales in the early 1990s.

Warnock’s reinforcements for the Championship season ahead have included the captures of players such as Aden Flint, Marlon Pack and Gavin Whyte, as well as Robert Glatzel, Curtis Nelson and Will Vaulks. Greg Cunningham and Bobby Decordova-Reid were loaned out, with the likes of Kenneth Zohore, Kadeem Harris and Bruno Ecuele Manga also departing the Cardiff City Stadium.

Neil Warnock is the Championship’s most experienced manager, having taken his first coaching role at Gainsborough Trinity in 1980, before all of his current Cardiff squad were born. He has gone on to become one of the country’s most established coaches, taking the reins at a host of League clubs and earning no less than eight career promotions. The most recent of these came during their remarkable 2017/18 campaign, with The Bluebirds reaching the Premier League against the odds. Following a 12-year playing career, the 70-year-old managed clubs such as Crystal Palace, Leeds United, QPR, Huddersfield Town and Notts County, with his longest spell coming during eight years with hometown club Sheffield United. Warnock currently boasts a win rate of over 40% in South Wales, a popular figure from the terraces.

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