Cardiff City will face Huddersfield Town on Saturday afternoon, in a huge six-point relegation battle at the Cardiff City Stadium.
The Bluebirds sit two points above the relegation zone after a strong festive period, with two big away results at Crystal Palace and Leicester ensuring they stayed above the drop zone coming into the new year.
Cardiff will be hoping to continue their good form against bottom-half clubs at home, beating Brighton, Southampton and Fulham, and home form will continue to be crucial for the Welsh side if they are to stay in the top flight.
Meanwhile, their opponents Huddersfield have lost their last eight league matches and sit bottom of the table and will be hoping to pick up their first win since their 2-0 victory at Wolves in November.
David Wagner’s men battled to a 16th place finish last season, but so far have struggled to match their performances, and like Cardiff, they will look to the January transfer window to boost their chances of survival.
The two teams played out a 0-0 draw at the John Smith Stadium in September, with Cardiff failing to capitalise on having an extra man for a good chunk of the game.
As two of the teams predicted to drop back down to the Championship next year, both will be looking for three points to help start a new year’s run of good results.
Ahead of the fixture, Cardiff boss Neil Warnock gave an update on his squad’s injury list at his pre-match press conference.
Strikers Danny Ward and Kenneth Zohore will both miss out, as they continue their return from injury. Warnock hopes both will be back in time for Newcastle away next week, but youngster Rhys Healey could return to the squad after his loan with MK Dons.
According to Warnock, four or five others are carrying knocks and will be evaluated on Saturday morning before the game.
Defender Christopher Schindler will return from suspension, after serving his one-match ban against Bristol City in the FA Cup last weekend.
Tommy Smith continues his recovery from injury and could make an appearance.
Australian midfielder Aaron Mooy and Danny Williams are both likely to miss out, as they are also battling injuries.
Predicted Starting XI’s:
Cardiff: Etheridge, Manga, Bamba, Morrison, Bennett, Gunnarsson, Arter, Camarasa, Hoilett, Murphy, Patterson.
Huddersfield: Lossl, Durm, Zanka, Schindler, Hadergjonaj, Hogg, Billing, Kachunga, Pritchard, Mounie, Depoitre.
Arter vs Hogg:
Two feisty midfielders. Harry Arter and Jonathan Hogg have been key parts of their respective sides’ midfield this season. Arter, who is on loan from Bournemouth, has been fantastic for the Bluebirds. With his pressing and passing ability, he has shown great passion and the fans have appreciated that. Hogg, meanwhile, has been the aggressor for the Terriers, his tackling and blocking have kept his midfielders in games regardless of the end results and it will be interesting to see the two battle it out.
Patterson vs Schindler:
The Scottish defender-turned-striker has become somewhat of a cult hero for Cardiff, and faces stern opposition in Christopher Schindler, who was key in the teams fight for survival last season. Patterson has done well for the Bluebirds, chipping in with four league goals this season, in some big wins against Fulham, Brighton and Southampton.