Gillingham vs Cardiff City Preview: Can the Gills cause an upset against Premier League strugglers
Bobby Reid celebrating via Getty Images/Marc Atkins

Gillingham vs Cardiff City Preview: Can the Gills cause an upset against Premier League strugglers

The Bluebirds travel to Kent this Saturday for the FA Cup 3rd round. 

Matthew Wojciow

Gillingham welcome Neil Warnock's Cardiff City to the Priestfield Stadium for a tantilising FA Cup 3rd Round tie. 

The Gills are currently embroiled in a relegation battle at the foot of Sky Bet League One. They currently sit in 18th place only two points above Oxford United in 22nd.

Cardiff are also in a relegation battle at the bottom of the Premier League as they currently occupy 17th position, two points above 18th placed Southampton. 

Tom Eaves: The Key to an upset

Gillingham are currently in very poor form, which has seen them drop further down the League One table. The Gills have just one win in their last five matches, conceding nine goals in that run and only scoring three times. 

The one bright spot for Gillingham this season though, is striker Tom Eaves. Eaves currently sits as League One's joint second top scorer so far this season with 14 goals. Eaves could be the key to Gillingham's chances of causing an upset against the South Wales side, who could be making quite a few changes to the squad that lost to Tottenham on New Year's Day. 

Gillingham boss Steve Lovell is looking forward to the clash, he had this to say in his pre-match press conference: "Saturday will be a good experience for our players. It's a game we are all looking forward to."

"All we can do is give our best. Whatever happens, we have to give everything if we are going to have a chance."

Youth to be given a chance

Given how important retaining their Premier League status is to Cardiff, the FA Cup could be an unwelcome distraction for Neil Warnock but the Cardiff boss states that he will try and keep the right balance in the side he takes to Kent. The Bluebirds will be hoping to return to South Wales with their first win of 2019 after losing 3-0 to Tottenham on New Year's Day. 

Warnock has said he is leaving regulars: Harry Arter; Neil Etheridge; Sol Bamba and Vicor Camaresa, back in South Wales. 

Captain Sean Morrison is travelling and will lead the side once again, most likely playing alongside Bruno Ecule Manga at the back. Bobby Reid and Nathanial Mendez-Laing may also have a starring role. Alex Smithies is the likely replacement for Etheridge. 

Youngsters Cameron Coxe, James Waite and Lloyd Humphries will travel with the side after impressing in the U23's side. 

Warnock had this to say in his pre-match news conference: "I'm going to play a strong team, I want to get through if I'm honest,especially for all the fans who are going to be travelling all that way."

"There will obviously be people not involved from last week, the lads who have got little knocks."Warnock added.

"There will be a couple of young lads coming as well, who have done so well with the Under-23s."

Key Stats

This is the first meeting between the two sides in the FA Cup since the 1996-97 season. That game ended in a 2-0 victory for the Kent side. This is also the first meeting between the two teams since 2005 which ended in a 1-1 draw. 

The last time Cardiff won at Priestfield was in April 2004, when goals from Robert Earnshaw and Lee Bullock gave the Bluebirds a 2-1 victory in the Championship. 

Gillingham have lost their last seven FA Cup ties against Premier League opposition