With City just needing a single point to gain promotion to the Promised Land, the team who will be trying to spoil the party on Tuesday night is Charlton Athletic.
The Addicks could not be coming into this game after a better result after beating Barnsley 6-0 away from home on Saturday. With the Tykes’ being notoriously hard to beat in recent weeks, it will certainly have been a result that would have filled the Charlton players with heaps of confidence.
Chris Powell’s squad currently lie in ninth position in the Championship with very slim hopes of making the Play-offs. They are six points behind sixth placed Bolton Wanderers, but with an inferior goal difference compared to all other Play-off hopefuls.
Athletic are in contention for the Play-Offs thanks to some impressive recent form. They are fourth in the form tables after only losing two of the last eight and are unbeaten in the last four fixtures. These include vital wins against Leeds United, Bolton Wanderers and the drubbing of Barnsley.
Charlton have the fifth best record against teams in the top half managing twenty-eight points from their twenty games. Only three teams have won more games against top half opposition and unsurprisingly the teams are Watford, Crystal Palace and table topping Cardiff City. Malky’s men will not be in for an easy ride as the Londoners also have the fourth best away record in the division. But City are top of the Championship for a reason.
Key Players: Charlton have two players that have hit double figures so far this season. With four games remaining midfielder Johnnie Jackson has notched up a total of eleven goals. He is the Addicks’ Mr Reliable as he has only missed two games all season and is also captain of the club.
The second reaching double figures is Frenchman Yann Kemorgant who many Cardiff fans may remember for his infamous penalty miss for Leicester City in the 2010 Play-Off semi final at Cardiff City Stadium. He has netted ten times this term, while fellow strikers Danny Haynes and Ricardo Fuller contribute seven and five goals respectively.
One player who has made even more appearances than Jackson is defender Chris Solly, the defender having missed just the one game in helping Charlton to nine clean sheets this season. Likely to accompany Solly at the back, as he has done for much of the season, is Michael Morrison. There could be some Welsh interest in the backline too as former Wales under 21 left back Rhoys Wiggins could feature.
Previous Meetings: Charlton have by far the superior record when it comes to the head-to-head totals between the two clubs. There have been sixty-nine fixtures and Charlton Athletic have won thirty-two compared to Cardiff City’s twenty-one.
The games have often been high scoring affairs with every game in the last ten having at least two goals scored and there being thirteen goals in the last two meetings.
The two teams have met each other five times in the last six years with the Reds winning three of those. Cardiff have managed just the solitary victory and one draw, each coming in the 2008/2009 season.
Previous Meeting: Charlton Athletic 5 – 4 Cardiff City (06/11/12)
When the two sides met back in November it produced one of the most bizarre score lines of the season. The game had started so well for the visiting Cardiff side as they took a 2-0 lead within twenty-five minutes thanks to a Heidar Helguson header and a Joe Mason tap-in. But City’s lead didn’t last until half time as a Johnnie Jackson brace levelled the proceedings
The travelling City faithful would have been in shock as within twenty second half minutes Charlton managed to take a 5-2 lead with Dale Stephens, Danny Haynes and Rob Hulse finding the net. Two late goals from Craig Noone and Aron Gunnarsson gave Cardiff a glimmer of hope but it was not enough as the Addicks ran out 5-4 victors.
Charlton Athletic Line-up: Hamer, Morrison, Kerkar, Solly, Cort, Jackson, Stephens (Holland), Haynes (Wright-Phillips), Pritchard, Dervite, Hulse. Subs not used: Button, Taylor, Fox, Green, Adebayo Azeez.
Cardiff City Line-up: Marshall, Taylor, Hudson, Turner, Connolly, Whittingham, Cowie (Gunnarsson), Noone, Frei (Kim), Mason, Helguson (Gestede). Subs not used: Lewis, McNaughton, Kiss, Conway.