Cardiff host Brighton on Saturday needing a win if they are to go into the international break outside of the relegation zone.
Neil Warnock’s team slipped back into the bottom three last week after wins for Newcastle and Huddersfield, but this is a very winnable game against a Brighton side with a poor record away from home.
Here is the team Warnock is likely to put out.
1. Goalkeeper & Defenders
Neil Etheridge (GK) – Arguably Cardiff’s player of the season so far, Etheridge was among the nominees for the August player of the month award after saving two penalties in his first two Premier League appearances. Could be the difference between victory and defeat in what is likely to be a close match.
Bruno Ecuele Manga (RB) – Ecuele Manga will not relish coming up against Brighton left winger Jose Izquierdo, who is capable of leaving defenders for dead when he turns the afterburners on.
Sean Morrison (CB) – The foundation stone of Cardiff’s rearguard, Morrison organised the Bluebirds into the tightest defensive unit in the Championship last season. A throwback performance is required on Saturday.
Sol Bamba (CB) – Bamba is clearly not better than Virgil van Dijk, as Neil Warnock once claimed, though it was strange of the Cardiff manager to say that he was ‘probably drunk’ when he said that. Bamba could probably do with a confidence boost after a tough start to the season.
Joe Bennett (LB) – With Alireza Jahanbakhsh out injured, Bennett’s personal battle will be against Anthony Knockaert. The Frenchman likes to take his opponents on; Bennett must stand his ground and protect the penalty area.
Aron Gunnarsson (DM) – The Iceland international’s long throw-in is one of Cardiff’s most dangerous weapons. Needs to exert his physical influence on the game if the Bluebirds are to win the midfield battle.
Joe Ralls (DM) – Returning from a three-game suspension, Ralls could slip in alongside Gunnarsson if Warnock opts for a 4-2-3-1 which could provide more midfield stability than 4-1-4-1.
Victor Camarasa (RW) – Camarasa has started every game for Cardiff since his debut against Newcastle in August. Likely to contest a physical battle down the right wing with Brighton’s Gaetan Bong, who can be got at.
Callum Paterson (CM) – Paterson has started as a centre forward at times, but central midfield is his preferred role and he may drop back in the absence of the suspended Harry Arter. Having scored against Fulham and Liverpool, he will hoping to keep the momentum going.
Josh Murphy (LW) – Provides an attacking threat from the left wing, having scored in two of Cardiff’s last three home games. His battle with Bruno could be decided either by Murphy’s pace or by the Spaniard’s experience.
Bobby Reid (ST) – Ploughing a lone furrow against Brighton’s reliable centre back partnership of Shane Duffy and Lewis Dunk is an unenviable task which falls on the shoulders of Bobby Reid. He has occupied a variety of positions but his best performance, against Fulham, came at centre forward.