Both Eunan O’Kane and Vurnon Anita will miss the game tonight with what is believed to be precaution, but defender Pontus Jansson has made the side after being rested at the weekend. It means that two new faces have the chance to impress and with the magnitude of the game if they do impress it gives them a huge platform for the games to come.
XI For Cardiff
GK – Felix Wiedwald – As expected the goalkeeper retains his place despite his mistake at the weekend. He will need to learn the physical side of the Championship quickly tonight with Cardiff sure to pack out the box from corners and throws.
RB – Luke Ayling – Now a permanent fixture in the side that despite the arrival of Anita and the return of Gaetano Berardi. Ayling will need to tuck in tonight to make sure that he helps out the two centre-backs with balls into the box.
CB – Pontus Jansson – Back in the side after we conceded more goals on Saturday without him than all but one game with him. The Swedish centre-back will set the tone for defending tonight, his ability to attract balls towards him in the area and repel them was a joy to behold at this ground last season.
CB – Liam Cooper (c) – A huge moment for Liam Cooper tonight as he plays for the first time after his call-up to the Scotland squad here, if he plays like he has been he will be a part of the future of the national side. A chance for him to show what he can do in front of the cameras.
LB – Gaetano Berardi – He’s back. Only his second league start of the season and I do think that he could earn his spot back now with Anita having a knock and not in great form the last few games. A tough game tonight and having Berardi in the side is very encouraging.
CM – Mateusz Klich – League debut, full that is. We finally get to see the £1.6 million Polish midfielder in action from the start in a key game. Will be taking over the role from O’Kane tonight and if he plays well he will expect to start at Sheffield Wednesday so a bug night.
CM – Kalvin Phillips – His hunger and desire will be so important from the start tonight and in a game that would have previously swallowed him up I expect him to be full of confidence with his brilliant form this season and his influence could be a key factor in the outcome.
LW – Stuart Dallas – Finally he gets a start! In terms of players who have earned their chance he is at the top of the list. I have been calling for him to start for a month now and he has the chance to show TC what he can do in such a big game.
CAM – Pablo Hernandez – Often criticised by myself but I think of the three attacking midfielders on Saturday he impressed me the most. Saiz looked a bit off his game and Pablo took more responsibility on. Think he will be better in his natural role this evening.
RW – Gjanni Alioski – Alioski hasn’t been playing great but for me this game will suit him down to the ground. Needs to stick at it despite what is sure to be a physical approach from Cardiff and be the outlet down his side, but doing the graft as well. I expect a big performance tonight.
ST – Kemar Roofe – I like this call from TC. Lasogga is the number one striker but horses for courses and I think Roofe up front at Forest worked so well maybe the Millwall game proved we can’t play the same way every week. Needs to stretch Cardiff and link in with Hernandez.
Subs – Lonergan, Pennington, Sacko, Vieira, Saiz, Lasogga, Grot