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Match Preview

 

Posted Fri 17 Feb 17

PREVIEW | Millers v Bluebirds

The Millers travel to South Wales to face Neil Warnock’s revitalised Cardiff City side, hoping to bounce back from the midweek defeat to Huddersfield Town.

The Bluebirds, after being relegation candidates for the majority of the season have now found themselves 12th and have won three of their last four games, scoring eight goals and conceding only three in that time. 

LAST TIME OUT 

Millers |
Huddersfield came from behind twice in South Yorkshire to take all three points, but needed a 92nd minute winner to do so, in a game which the home side will have felt they did enough to win.

The Millers took the lead in the 11th minute through Semi Ajayi after he bundled the ball over the line from a corner, however the lead lasted only eight minutes as Huddersfield drew level through Joe Lolley’s low curling effort from the edge of the area. 

In an end-to-end game, it was the home side who again took the lead when Cardiff loanee Tom Adeyemi drilled home a stunning long range effort from 25 yards. However the visitors levelled again in double quick time with German forward Elias Kachunga heading in a corner from Aaron Mooy’s delivery to make amends for an earlier miss. 

That goal set up a tense finale and despite Rotherham having chances of their own with Richard Wood looking particularly dangerous from set pieces, it was their in-form and third placed opponents who snatched the win thanks to Tommy Smith.

Cardiff |
On the back of the away victory at promotion chasing Leeds United, Cardiff headed to Derby full of confidence of causing another upset and denting the Rams’ promotion hopes. 

Julien de Sart pounced from a rebound to open the scoring and Darren Bent converted from Tom Ince’s pass to put the hosts in total control. 

Neil Warnock’s side needed a lifeline heading into the interval to give themselves any hope of salvaging something from this game. Up stepped Kadeem Harris, whose deflected strike in the 41st minute, looped over ‘keeper Scott Carson, leaving the Derby shot stopper with no chance. 

That provided the away side with the much needed platform to build on and hopefully get a result from a game they seemed out of after 20 minutes. With the home side stuttering, the Bluebirds seized their opportunity and it was Harris again, this time just two minutes after the restart.

It got worse for Derby as Cardiff led for the first time in the game just before the hour mark to send the away following into ecstasy. 

Craig Noone brilliantly found the top corner from the edge of the area with a fine curling effort to give Warnock’s side a 3-2 lead, but Darren Bent appeared to have salvaged a point when he rose higher than Sean Morrison to head home in the 74th minute.  
However, despite the home side squandering chances to stage their own dramatic comeback, after their heroics against Bristol City previously, it was the Rams who were on the receiving end of a thrilling turnaround. 

The final twist in the tale was provided by Joe Ralls’ 90th minute penalty, after Blues substitute Rhys Healey was tripped in the area by Alex Pearce, and Ralls calmly stroked his penalty into the corner.

ONE TO WATCH |

Cardiff’s Aron Gunnarsson has been a vital cog in a relatively well oiled machine so far this season. Despite being slotted in at either right-back or as a defensive midfielder, Gunnarsson has three assists and two goals to his name so far.

His man of the match displays are no surprise to Cardiff fans after he was part of the Iceland team who were the revelation during Euro 2016, and famously defeated England in the knockout stages. 

The 27-year-old has played 2423 minutes of Championship football this season which proves how much manager Neil Warnock relies on his leadership, organisation and skills both going forward and defending, and will do so again ahead of the clash against the Millers.

TEAM NEWS |

Defensive duo Aimen Belaid and Darnell Fisher are back in full training and could feature.

However striker Danny Ward will have his fitness assessed ahead of the trip to Wales after suffering a calf injury sustained during the defeat to Huddersfield. 

Cardiff loanees Tom Adeyemi and Semi Ajayi, who played such a pivotal part midweek against Huddersfield, will not be able to feature against their parent club.

Despite training well all week, Lee Frecklington will be unlikely to feature this weekend. 

Goalkeeper Lewis Price will also be out after suffering from tonsillitis and a sinus issue. 

However, there could be a start for Swedish defender Joel Ekstrand.

HEAD TO HEAD |

The Millers have only beaten Cardiff once since the formation of the Championship from the old Division One, that win coming last season as Rotherham triumphed 2-1.

The last meeting between these two sides was earlier this season at AESSEAL New York Stadium, with Cardiff winning 2-1 thanks to a Rickie Lambert double. 

However overall since 1951, the Millers have had the better of this fixture. The record reads 22 wins, 13 draws and 12 losses. 

ODDS | SKY BET |

5/1 Millers to win

11/8 Rotherham or Draw

7/2 Jon Taylor to score in 90 minutes 

11/1 Millers to score in first ten minutes 

* Odds subject to change 
* Please gamble responsibly