Changes to be made. Cheltenham Town preview.

Last updated : 17 January 2003 By Michael Morris
Gary Croft and Willie Boland are suspended and it's likely that Spencer Prior and Layton Maxwell will come in.

If Lennie sticks with his usual system then I'd expect to see Chris Barker move to left back to cover Croft's position, Spencer to return at centre back with Scott Young.

Willie Boland I expect to be replaced with Layton Maxwell. Maxwell has been the next midfielder in line with Mark Bonner coming onto the bench to fill Maxwell's place.

City therefore expected to line up

Alexander, Weston, Young, Prior, Barker, Bowen, Maxwell, Kavanagh, Legg, Earnshaw, Thorne. Subs Margetson, Collins, Bonner, Leo FW, Campbell.

Cheltenham bring ex City player Paul Brayson back to Ninian Park. The Geordie is sure of a warm reception after a successful period at Cardiff City. Michael Simpkins will not be playing. The defender, currently on loan at Whaddon Rd, cannot play. This was agreed as part of the loan deal.

Cardiff can now "concentrate on the league" after the defeat at Coventry in the cup. On paper Cheltenham should provide little opposition but we said that at their place back in August and they came from a goal down to hold City to a 1 - 1 draw. (Match report here).

City's other absentees are Fan Zhiyi, who completes his three match ban tomorrow and the injured trio of Daniel Gabbidon, Gareth Whalley and Des Hamilton.

Blackburn's Alan Mahon is on the verge of joining City after the clubs agreed a 3 month loan deal. Pen has not been put to paper yet but Lennie hopes to have Mahon in the squad for Tuesdays trip to Port Vale.

Cheltenham Town's visit to Ninian Park tomorrow is the first in a run of three must win games for Cardiff. The Robins are second bottom of the table only 1 point above Huddersfield on the bottom. Huddersfield is the third game in this trilogy, we visit the McAlpine next Saturday. In the middle we play Port Vale who are only 1 point above the drop zone. No excuses, if we want promotion we have to win these games.

Cheltenham have only picked up 2 points in the last 6 games and have conceded 17 goals. Cardiff are in better shape but have not won a game yet in 2003. A draw at home to Swindon and a draw and a defeat against Coventry.

Two players hungry for goals are Peter Thorne and Robert Earnshaw. Thorne is struggling with his goal scoring form. He is desperate to get back on the scoring trail. No such probems for Earnshaw. 21 league goals so far this season and only 9 short of Cardiff City's all time league scoring record. Both will be looking to achieve their own targets.

Kick off at Ninian Park is at 3:00pm and there will be chat room coverage with live internet commentary for subscribers to Cardiff City World.

Match referee will be Dermot Gallacher.