Championship preview: Cardiff could see daylight after Burnley encounter


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The Independent Football

There were late twists wherever you turned in the Championship on Tuesday night with six injury-time goals changing the course of five different matches, and you have to judge each case on its own merits when it comes to measuring the knock-on effects of such high drama this weekend.

Cardiff and Burnley were two of the teams to profit as a result of their never-say-die attitude but we reckon the resulting emotional states will be polarised when they meet in south Wales on Saturday. Take some of the even money about Cardiff (-0.75) on the Asian handicap.

For Malky Mackay's men, the over-riding emotion was relief when Aron Gunnarsson spared their blushes with his winner against Watford. A victory was the least anyone expected once the Hornets had been reduced to nine men shortly after the home side had equalised with 20 minutes still remaining.

Burnley too were relieved, but their relief was heavily laced with euphoria after they were deflated by a spirited Bristol City fightback from 3-1 down to level-up at 3-3, Paul Anderson's equaliser coming thirty seconds after the fourth official had held up his board to indicate five minutes added on.

Eddie Howe might be gone but his spirit lives on under caretaker stewardship of Terry Pashley, who should probably get his heart monitored before he goes any further with the Clarets. However, all that excitement could come at a price when the Lancashire club head back down the M5. Don't be surprised if their performance is somewhat subdued by comparison.

Cardiff, of course, are gunning for promotion after boosting their attacking options in the summer and we expect them to up their game if presented with lacklustre opposition because they haven't quite come up to scratch in recent weeks. 

The Bluebirds made hard work of wins over Birmingham and Ipswich before the international break, then resumed with a defeat at Nottingham Forest before their close shave against Gianfranco Zola's men, but they have nonetheless taken maximum points from six home matches since turning red.

Four of those triumphs have been by a one-goal margin, which would win us half of the above bet, while Burnley's abject defence increases our hopes of landing full whack by two clear goals. The Clarets have conceded 17 goals in seven away matches, shipping two or more in all but three of their 14 outings overall.

Meanwhile, Nottingham Forest also left it late to salvage a point at Blackpool but we fancy fate could catch up with them against a Barnsley side who were positively punctual by comparison, snatching their midweek equaliser with a full four minutes to spare against Crystal Palace. 

The Tykes still had time to find a winner and very nearly did as they threw the proverbial kitchen sink at the Eagles, forcing a succession of corners in the dying moments, but it wasn't to be and their hunger could still be lingering going into this game. 

Keith Hill's men are persistently dominating matches of late but not always getting the reward their efforts deserve, which might sound like a case for backing Forest but they too can be found wanting for cutting edge on occasions. So it's the price that dictates our interest at Oakwell with 2/1 available on the home win.

Betting advice...

1pt Barnsley to beat Nottingham Forest at 2/1 (Bet365)

Tykes are dominating games and the price dictates against hit-and-miss visitors.

2pts Cardiff (-0.75) to beat Burnley on the Asian handicap at evens (Bet365)

Clarets leak goals for fun and they might lack energy after late heroics in midweek.

For more betting advice, visit Best of the Bets by clicking here.