Early Gills v Bluebirds match preview

Last updated : 01 April 2004 By Michael Morris
City head to play in Kent for the only time this season with a 3:00pm kick off at Gillingham's Priestfield Stadium. I hope the spring weather is kind to us as the away temporary stand is uncovered.

City last played there in 2000 and a 4 - 1 defeat sent the Bluebirds down from Division 2 to Division 3. Andy Legg was sent off to compound the misery. That result completed a double for Gillingham after a 2 - 1 with at Ninian Park earlier in the season.

We've had much better luck this season.  Peter Thorne opened the scoring at Ninian Park last September before Robert Earnshaw went on to score another four goals as City won 5 - 0. Our biggest winning margin this season.

Cardiff are safe in Division 1 with 55 points and an outside chance of making the play offs. Gillingham are in a far more precarious position. They sit 1 place above the relegation zone. 2 points ahead of Derby. Gillingham could be in that 3rd relegation place if they lose on Saturday.

Wimbledon will be relegated this weekend if they don't win and will be relegated if they do win and other results go against them. Bradford are 11 points from safety with only seven games to go so sorry Bradford, you are heading for Division 2. That leaves Derby, Gillingham, Watford, Burnley, Walsall, Rotherham, Forest and Crewe all trying to avoid the last relegation spot. Only 5 points covers those 8 teams. City will have a battle on their hands as Gillingham fight for their Division 1 status.

The referee for Saturday is listed as Mick Thorpe from Suffolk. His assistants are John Pearce and Steve Rubery both from Essex.

Thorpe has twice covered Cardiff games before. Last season he officiated the 2 - 0 win against Brentford at Griffin Park and this season the 2 - 1 reverse at Watford at Christmas time. So far this season in 29 games he's issued 71 yellow cards but only 2 red.

The game is all ticket as usual for City fans and are available from the ticket office. 0845 345 1400.

Last Saturday the seven international players, that have been away this week, all started for City in the 2 - 1 win over Sheff Utd. Margetson, Vidmar, Gabbidon, Collins, Langley, Lee and Earnshaw should all keep their places at Gillingham unless Lennie feels any of them need a rest after their international duties or they have returned injured. Richard Langley will be arriving back from Jamaica. The Welsh boys from Hungary, but they did fly straight back so were in Cardiff in the early hours of this morning.

News on whether Paul Parry or Rhys Weston are close to returning after injury or what possible changes could be made will be availabe on Friday when we should have more exact team news.

Gillingham v Cardiff City.
Priestfield Stadium. Saturday, 3:00pm.