Coventry City v Cardiff City. Match preview

Last updated : 15 January 2003 By Michael Morris
City are back in action tonight for the first time since the Ninian Park encounter between the two teams 11 days ago.

Since then City were frustrated in their efforts to play Northampton Town while Coventry could only manage a goalless home draw over lowly Brighton.

Tonights match is live on Sky Sports 2 with the program staring at 7pm, there is also the usual Radio Wales coverage on 882mw, Chatroom coverage and live internet commentary to those subscribed to Cardiff City World. The game is being televised live in The United States and Canada on Fox Sports World kick off at 2:45pm on the East coast and at 11:45am on the West coast. There is also a highlights show on BBC 1 Wales at 11:05pm.

Saturdays draw for Coventry moved them up into 6th place in Division 1 while Cardiff slipped to 4th in Division 2 thanks to not playing and other teams around us picking up points. League positions go out of the window though when it comes to the FA Cup. The winners of tonight encounter, which will go to extra time and penalties if needed, will play Rochdale on January 25th at Spotland. If extra time is needed there is no golden goal. A full 30 mins will be played.

City earned tonights replay thanks to an incredible finish to the opening game at Ninian Park. Coventry were 2 up with 15 minutes to play when City went into all out attack and Robert Earnshaw headed in the 1st for the Bluebirds and then a frantic finish saw Andy Campbell lash the ball home deep into injury time.

Coventry will consider themselves heavy favourites for tonights game but the advantage of a good playing surface will help both sides.

Sky Blues boss Gary McAllister appreciates the footballing qualities of Cardiff City, he told the Western Mail

"Cardiff are not a typical lower division side. They don't just lump the ball forward, they try to play and in Earnshaw they've got a guy playing with a lot of confidence. Cardiff have got some tidy players. We know Willie Boland can pass, we know Graham Kavanagh can pass. The team passed the ball well in the first game and they were well supported by a big crowd. It will be interesting to see how they perform away from Ninian Park."

Willie Boland, mentioned above plays tonight against his former club before starting a 2 match ban. Spencer Prior and Fan Zhiyi are both suspended for tonights game.

Scott Young is set to start his first game of the season in Prior's place. That should be the only change to the starting line up at Ninian Park 11 days ago.

City would expect to line up

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

For Jason Bowen it's his 150th appearance for Cardiff City and his 400th career appearance. For Coventry boss Gary McAllister it's his 800th club career start. The Sky Blues player manager was 38 on Christmas Day.

For Cardiff City tonights match is the 5th so far in this season competition. Two ties to get past Tranmere followed by Margate and the 3rd round game at Ninian Park being the four games played so far.

City will be well supported at Highfield Rd despite the game being live on Television. Over 2,000 tickets have been sold for the game which sees over 20 coaches making to 120 mile journey into the Midlands.