As the EFL Championship season draws near to its conclusion, Neil Harris' Cardiff City side play host to Blackburn Rovers. Both teams come into the game with contrasting ambitions, and on very different runs of form.
Cardiff are unbeaten since the restart, winning three of their four games. Notably, they beat Championship leaders Leeds United 2-0 in their first home game since domestic football was reintroduced.
They have also been defensively solid, conceding just once over the four games. This excellent run has seen them rise to sixth place, occupying the final play-off spot. With five games remaining, only 11 points separate the sides between fourth and eighth. The Bluebirds will see their latest fixture as a prime opportunity to strengthen their grip on a playoff spot, and a shot at gaining promotion.
By contrast, Blackburn's form since "project restart" has been woeful. Rovers have only won one of their four games, all but extinguishing hopes of a playoff berth. Tony Mowbray's side sit in 11th place, eight points behind Cardiff in sixth. Blackburn come into the game with nothing to lose, safe from relegation and with a good chance of a top half finish.
Blackburn forward Adam Armstrong has notched 13 league goals this season. The former Newcastle United youth player is in good recent form, having scored twice since the restart. He will be paid close attention by Cardiff's Michael Morrison. The centre back has been a stalwart this term, his defensive solidity underpinning Cardiff's good run of form. The outcome of this battle could go a long way to deciding the eventual result on Tuesday night.
The previous meeting between the two sides was in August 2019, in round five of the EFL Championship fixture list. The game finished goalless, with both sides wasting good chances to score. Ultimately, neither could break the deadlock.
For Cardiff, frontman Isaac Vassell is still out with a long term injury.
Two Blackburn absentees could be fit in time for Tuesday's clash. Derrick Williams will be assessed on his calf problem, Amari'i Bell will be keen to be considered, following a period on the treatment table.
Cardiff (4-3-3): Smithies, Bennett, Nelson, Morrison, Sanderson, Ralls, Bacuna, Pack, Adomah, Mendez-Laing, Paterson.
Blackburn (4-4-2): Walton, Rankin-Costello, Adarabioyo, Lenihan, Bennett, Downing, Evans, Travis, Holtby, Armstrong, Gallagher.
"That's four clean sheets in our five games that I'm really pleased with", Harris said ahead of the game.
"We've got huge games coming up. All we can do is take it one game at a time, and the next one to focus on is Blackburn on Tuesday night.
"We're resilient, hard-working, aggressive, but we're also playing well – that's a good mix."
"We’ll see how we’re looking after today’s training session," Mowbray said after being asked for his thoughts before Rovers' trip to South Wales.
“We know the injuries are a little bit of an issue for us at the moment, but it’ll be what it’ll be.
“We’ll ensure we put a team out on Tuesday night that will be competitive and give Cardiff some problems."