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Wednesday, 12 December, 2018

Brentford are value to dent Cardiff challenge

Brentford goalkeeper Daniel Bentley celebrates the Bees' win over Aston Villa
1 of 1

Sky Bet Championship
Sky Sports Football, 7.45pm Tuesday

Cardiff's promotion charge in the Sky Bet Championship has been built on a superb run of results at home but this week’s fixture list takes the Bluebirds out of their comfort zone.

Neil Warnock’s men head to Brentford on a six-match winning run with five of those victories coming on their own patch. Upcoming trips to Griffin Park and Derby, on Sunday, provide a serious test of Cardiff’s mettle.

Their winning sequence looks great on paper although five of their six wins were by a one-goal margin and their victims included three of the bottom five as well as mid-table Ipswich.

Brentford were seen as more likely promotion contenders than Cardiff at the start of the season. However, a haul of four points from their first eight games left the Bees with plenty of ground to make up.

They have picked up well under Dean Smith since then, although a lack of ruthlessness looks to have cost them a crack at the playoffs this term.

Brentford have drawn eight of their 17 games at Griffin Park but they demonstrated a sharper edge in front of goal in their last home fixture, thumping Birmingham 5-0.

The struggling Blues gave Cardiff a second-half scare on Saturday, coming back from 3-0 down to 3-2 and having a greater share of possession, shots and corners in the Welsh capital.

Brentford are unlikely to be overawed by their second-placed visitors, having done well in home games against the better sides in the division.

They are unbeaten at home against teams in the top ten, holding leaders Wolves to a goalless draw and beating Fulham (3-1) and Aston Villa (2-1).

Smith was full of praise for his players after the 1-0 loss at in-form Millwall where they piled on the pressure, hitting the woodwork twice and having a goal harshly disallowed for offside, and they have the talent to put a dent in Cardiff’s promotion challenge.

1pt 13-10 Betfair

Sky Bet Championship standings

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Team news
Defender Andreas Bjelland is likely to miss out and Florian Jozefzoon is a doubt. Chris Mepham is set to partner John Egan in central defence.

Joe Ralls (knee) is unlikely to feature and there are doubts over Craig Bryson and Callum Paterson. Gary Madine and Sean Morrison are pushing for recalls.

Key stat
Both teams have scored in only one of Brentford’s last 12 Sky Bet Championship matches.

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Brentford are unlikely to be overawed by their second-placed visitors, having done well in home games against the better sides in the division
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