Fulham vs Cardiff City preview: Bluebirds aim to keep hold of play-off spot
(Photo by Alex Davidson/Getty Images)

With the season winding down, there is still everything to play for in the EFL Championship. Scott Parker's Fulham find themselves sitting comfortably inside the play-off positions, however, Fulham fans will all agree that automatics are now out of reach for the Cottagers

Neil Harris' Cardiff City know that it is all in their hands, with his Bluebirds sitting just inside the play-off places; but the slightest slip-up will blow the doors to the positions wide open.

Both sides go into their bout in contrasting emotions. Fulham scraped a 0-1 victory away to fellow play-off rivals Nottingham Forest last time out. In Wales, Cardiff were dealt a massive blow at home to Blackburn Rovers where an Adam Armstrong screamer left the Bluebirds licking their wounds. 

  • Team news

Fulham captain Tom Cairney will miss this fixture according to his manager Scott Parker, who said:

”I don’t think it’s a big one, it’s not one which we’re too concerned about, but the dynamics of the division and the games schedule means you’re missing games with just a week’s injury, or a 10 day injury you can be missing three or four games." 

Aboubakar Kamara is also a doubt for the Cottagers.

Cardiff know they can't afford any slip-ups, but have several doubts ahead of the fixture with Lee Tomlin, Greg Cunningham, and Isaac Vassell all possibly missing out.

  • Predicted line-ups

Fulham: Rodak, Odoi, Hector, Ream, Bryan, Arter, Reed, Johansen, Knockaert, Cavaleiro, Reid.

Cardiff: Smithies, Sanderson, Morrison, Nelson, J Bennett, Bacuna, Vaulks, Murphy, Ralls, Hoilett, Glatzel.

  • Managers thoughts

Fulham know they have a cushion to fall back onto should results dip, but after three wins on the bounce, Parker will be hoping to continue that form. However, the Fulham manager knows Cardiff pose a threat to his side: 

“It’s a tough game. They’re a team that was Premier League not so long ago.

“We understand their qualities, they’ve got some very good players, some experience in their team, players who have been in and around the Premier League. We understand their qualities and what they’re going to bring.

“Neil’s done a very good job there. They’ve got a bit of momentum, I know they had a bad result midweek, but they’ve picked up some good results against good teams.

“They beat Leeds in their first game back after lockdown, so we’re going into this game fully focused as it will be a tough evening for us.”

Neil Harris will be hoping his Cardiff side bounce back quickly from their extremely disappointing loss to Blackburn Rovers last time out. Moreover, Harris is calling for his side to get back to the standards necessary to compete: 

"It's a time for cool heads at this stage of the season.

"With four games to go we're holding that sixth position and we're there to be shot at.

"But we have to keep the standards, keep improving and enjoy these moments."

The Cardiff manager knows there will be pressure on his side, but they know what needs to be done to maintain sixth spot ahead of their fellow Welsh rivals: 

"Swansea were top of the league for a period at the start. They were going great guns and were in the top six for a very long time, then fell away,

"But like us they have found a way to find some form and get back in the mix.

"I understand the rivalry - we will be desperate to be above them, they will be desperate to be above us. That's just an added little bit to it.

"But ultimately, Swansea, Derby, Preston, Blackburn, Millwall - it doesn't matter to us, we just want sixth spot."

  • Head-to-head

Last time out the two sides played out a 1-1 draw at the Cardiff City Stadium. Goals from Josh Murphy and Alexander Mitrovic were seen by 22,000 back in August - along with a red card for Fulham's Harry Arter, who spent last season on-loan at the Bluebirds.

Over history this fixture has been fought evenly, with neither side holding a commanding lead over the other in terms of victories. Fulham hold the slight advantage with 27 wins, 13 draws and 25 losses to the Welsh outfit. 

Cardiff last beat Fulham back in 2018, when the Bluebirds smashed four past Marcus Bettinelli at the Cardiff City Stadium in what was a Premier League match-up.

  • How to watch

The is accessible to Sky Sports customers, with the fixture being shown live via the Sky Sports Football channel, as well as both clubs' respective in-house streaming services.

Kick off is at 20:15 BST