28 years to the day since we beat Palace. Match preview

Last updated : 09 April 2004 By Michael Morris
To find a win at Ninian Park for Cardiff City takes us back another 9 years to August 1967 when City won 4 - 2 thanks to goalscorers that included Ronnie Bird and Peter King.

Cardiff though did manage to friendly victory in 2001. The new season warmed up with a 4 - 0 win for City (report here) with Kav and Earnie (3) scoring.

Another Earnie hat trick tomorrow would be most welcome. City have to win to keep the play off hopes alive and by doing so would edge Crystal Palace closer to mid table obscurity.

With a game in hand on City, Palace will keep their faint hopes alive if they win. Cardiff are 1 place and 2 points ahead of Palace.

Above City the play off places are 4 points away. To get into them we are going to have to overtake the likes of Ipswich, Reading and Sheff Utd. Sunderland look good for one of the places. Wigan, Millwall and West Ham fill the last three places at the moment.

There is plenty for both teams to play for.

City are forced into one change for tomorrow. John Robinson is out so Lee Bullock is expcted to move into the starting line up with Rhys Weston probably returning to the bench.

City are stretched. 16 on duty tomorrow leaves only Aaran Lee Barrett and Stuart Fleetwood as the only fit players with squad numbers. Our 23 numbered players are made up with the injured Kavanagh, Thorne, Robinson, Boland and Prior.

City probable. Margetson, Croft, Collins, Gabbidon, Vidmar, Langley, Bullock, Whalley, Parry, Lee, Earnshaw. Subs. Alexander, Barker, Weston, Campbell, Gordon.

So Crystal Palace have history on their side at Ninian Park. No defeat in the last 8 league visits spanning 37 years. Palalce over their last 7 away games have won 4 and lost 3. They don't appear to do draws. More recently three of the last 4 aways were defeats the only win coming at Rotherham last Tuesday.

City will welcome back Julian Gray to Ninian Park. Palace were struggling when Gray left Cardiff after his loan spell and the prodigal son to returned to the club that had said he'd never play for them again. When he lined up for Palace against Forest the Eagles were in the bottom three but since then Gray return alongwith the appointment of Ian Dowie as the new manager has seen Palace into a position where, like City, they hit the Easter period with a potential promotion interest.

Palace lined up against Rotherham

Vaesen, Granville, Hudson, Popovic, Butterfield, Gray, Hughes, Riihilahti, Routledge, Johnson, Shipperley. Subs Leigertwood, Freedman, Black, Derry, Berthelin.

It's not impossible that Gray could return to Ninian park this summer.

"Palace have offered me a new contract, but I'm going to wait and see what happens," he told the Western Mail. "Going back to Cardiff could happen, you never know. They did show an interest in me this season.

"When this season finishes I will see what's on the table and weigh up any offers I get."

Lawrence has not ruled it out either

"It's certainly a possibility for this summer. We are keeping a watching brief as the season comes to an end."

Tomorrows referee is Trevor Parkes from the West Midlands. His last game in charge of Cardiff was a 1 - 0 win over Wycombe at Ninian Park in October 2002.

City follow up this game with an 8pm kick off at Wigan next Tuesday. The game switched from Bank Holiday Monday.

We only have 6 games left. By 10pm next Tuesday night we will only have 4 games left. Where has the season gone? It seems like weeks rather than months since that hot day in Rotherham last August.

Cardiff City v Crystal Palace.
Ninian Park, 3:00pm
Saturday 10th April.