Western Mail match previews

Last updated : 09 August 2003 By Michael Morris

Lennie looks to his young guns to prove City are Division One material.

CARDIFF CITY will today sample life outside the bottom two divisions for the first time in 18 years and Lennie Lawrence will warn his players, "Mind the gap!"

The Bluebirds boss reckons the gulf between Second and First Divisions is the biggest in English football.

With only two new faces drafted into Ninian Park so far, the 55-year-old is hoping young guns such as Robert Earnshaw, Daniel Gabbidon and Rhys Weston can adapt to life in Division One.

"The gap between Division Three and Division Two is big but the biggest gap of all, in my opinion, is the gap between Division Two and Division One," explained the former Charlton and Middlesbrough chief.
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Moore's men ready to prove their price tag.

RONNIE MOORE believes Cardiff City targets Alan Lee and Andy Monkhouse will be psyched up to destroy the Bluebirds today - and prove they are worth the fees Rotherham are demanding for them.

Rotherham boss Moore has seen City try to sign both players during the summer, but club owner Sam Hammam has not met the Millers' asking price for either player.

The pair now have the perfect chance to impress Hammam and Bluebirds manager Lennie Lawrence when the two clubs meet at Millmoor this afternoon for the opening match of the 2003-04 season.

And former City forward Moore reckons striker Lee and winger Monkhouse will be desperate to show the Bluebirds they are worth the price tag Rotherham have slapped on them.

"I won't have to motivate Alan and Andy for this game. They've both got a point to prove," said Moore, who played for the Bluebirds from 1978-79. "They are both in the shop window and will want to show Cardiff that they are worth the money my chairman is asking for them.
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Heartache of the Barker boys.

THE MOTHER of Cardiff City defender Chris Barker has spoken for the first time about the secret heartache behind her son's brave face.

The 23-year-old Bluebird could find himself facing his older brother - Rotherham United striker Richie - in today's First Division curtain-raiser at Millmoor.

But the ex-Barnsley player knows father Melvin will not be in the stand to watch his two sons battling on the pitch.

Two years ago, at the age of 54, he tragically died from motor neurone disease.

"Whenever you ask Chris why he is doing something, he will tell you he is doing it for his dad," said mum Pauline.
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Chris Barker on brother Richie.

"RICHIE and I are very different. I'm quite an untidy person whereas Richie is always clean and always looks smart.

"I would say he's too clean! His car is always spotless and he's always telling me to throw my rubbish out.

"We're not the type to go out clubbing together but we are close. We're quite a close family. We go out for meals together, things like that.

"I talk to Richie about football quite a lot. He's more experienced in the game than I am and sometimes I want his advice on certain things.
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Richie Barker on younger brother Chris.

"CHRIS is very laid-back whereas I'm someone who wants to get things done now. But if Chris can do something tomorrow, he will.

"When he was 18 and working as a lifeguard he wasn't bothered about what he was going to do for a living. If it was me, I'd have been panicking.

"Unlike me, Chris was a late starter in professional football. I was 14 when Sheffield Wednesday took me on as an apprentice but he was 18 when Barnsley signed him.
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