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Bristol City
Championship | Gameweek 35
Mar 2, 2024 at 12.30pm UK
Ashton Gate Stadium
Cardiff City logo

Bristol City
0 - 1

King (48'), Gardner-Hickman (76')
FT(HT: 0-0)
Ng (66')
Etete (15'), Wilson-Esbrand (67')

Preview: Bristol City vs. Cardiff City - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Championship clash between Bristol City and Cardiff City, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

With the two sides currently level on points in the Championship standings, the latest edition of the Severnside derby will see Bristol City host Cardiff City at Ashton Gate on Saturday afternoon.

The Robins are aiming to respond following back-to-back defeats in the league, while the Bluebirds will be looking to build on a much-needed success over Stoke City last time out.

Match preview

Bristol City manager Liam Manning on February 7, 2024© Reuters

Taking charge of Bristol City for the first time in a Severnside derby, Liam Manning will lead his troops into battle against Cardiff this weekend following back-to-back losses to relegation-threatened duo Queens Park Rangers and Sheffield Wednesday over the past fortnight.

A solitary first-half goal from Ilias Chair was enough to defeat the Robins at Ashton Gate on February 14, and seven days later the West Country side were the latest victims of Ike Ugbo at Hillsborough, with the Bluebirds loanee bagging a brace to wipe out Jason Knight's strike for the visitors.

A three-game winning run during the festive period and the FA Cup victory over West Ham United in January proved that Bristol City have the quality to be involved in the top-six conversation, but a run of two wins from the last seven Championship matches means that the Robins are well adrift of the playoff picture.

Manning's men currently occupy 12th position in the second-tier standings after earning 44 points from 34 league contests, sitting 11 points behind sixth-placed Hull City, who look to be evolving into a different beast following the January arrivals of Ryan Giles, Anass Zaroury and Fabio Carvalho.

The Robins have a good recent record in Severnside derby matches played at Ashton Gate, with Saturday's hosts winning the last two games against the Bluebirds in front of the red side of Bristol, with goals from Tommy Conway and Rob Atkinson sealing a 2-0 victory in this fixture last season.

Cardiff City manager Erol Bulut on February 13, 2024© Reuters

Ending a worrying four-match winless spell in the Championship, Cardiff put League One-bound Stoke to the sword in South Wales last weekend, with first-half goals from Kion Etete and Karlan Grant enough to render Bae Joon-ho's strike later in the opening 45 as a mere consolation.

Having lost five of their eight second-tier matches since the start of 2024, a Bluebirds side that displayed plenty of promise in the early part of the campaign has stalled in recent weeks, but Erol Bulut claimed that last Saturday's win over the Potters allowed his team to regain their confidence.

After avoiding relegation to League One courtesy of a six-point deduction handed to crisis-hit Reading last campaign, Cardiff are enjoying a relatively stress-free term this time around despite the lack of an exciting playoff push, with the Welsh club possessing a nine-point advantage over the bottom three.

With no side in the top 17 of the Championship netting fewer than the Bluebirds' 39 goals so far, it was a surprise to many that the club allowed summer signing Ugbo to leave a temporary deal to Danny Rohl's Sheffield Wednesday in January, but Bulut's men managed to recruit a replacement, bringing in ex-Bristol City marksman Famara Diedhiou from Granada.

Cardiff currently hold the bragging rights in the Severnside derby following October's meeting between the Bluebirds and the Robins, when strikes either side of the half-time whistle from Perry Ng and youngster Rubin Colwill sentenced Nigel Pearson's side to a damning defeat at the home of their rivals.

Bristol City Championship form:

Bristol City form (all competitions):

Cardiff City Championship form:

Team News

Nottingham Forest's Felipe in action before Divock Origi scores against Bristol City on February 7, 2024© Reuters

Bristol City's Sam Bell endured a difficult February, missing the decisive penalty kick during the FA Cup loss to Nottingham Forest before suffering a leg injury which is set to keep him out of Saturday's match.

The Robins will also be without the services of centre-back Atkinson, who is still recovering from a cruciate ligament injury and is not expected back until the middle of March.

Manning should make some alterations to his XI following the loss at Sheffield Wednesday, with the likes of Ross McCrorie and Haydon Roberts pushing for starts.

Cardiff's first-choice goalkeeper Jak Alnwick remains sidelined due to a knock, meaning that ex-Forest stopper Ethan Horvath will start in between the sticks once again.

The hamstring injury of Mark McGuinness leaves Dimitrios Goutas and Nat Phillips as the obvious centre-back pairing for the Bluebirds, unless the visitors change to a back three.

After showing his versatility in midfield during his stint at Reims earlier in the season, Manchester City loanee Josh Wilson-Esbrand is relishing being selected in his natural position of left-back for Cardiff.

Bristol City possible starting lineup:
O'Leary; Tanner, Vyner, Dickie; McCrorie, Williams, Gardner-Hickman, King, Roberts; Knight, Conway

Cardiff City possible starting lineup:
Horvath; Ng, Goutas, Phillips, Wilson-Esbrand; Siopis, Ralls, Bowler, Colwill, Grant; Etete

SM words green background

We say: Bristol City 2-1 Cardiff City

Despite some unacceptable results since the turn of the calendar year, Bristol City have shown the ability to rise to the big occasion at Ashton Gate, and we feel that the Robins could repeat the trick on Saturday.

Cardiff's win over struggling Stoke last time out was much needed, but we believe it does not signal a long-term change in fortunes for the Bluebirds during the remainder of the season.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

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Manchester City's Josh Wilson-Esbrand pictured on July 20, 2022
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