Lawrence has no fear of Ewood Park aura

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The Independent Football

The Cardiff manager, Lennie Lawrence, believes that Ewood Park will hold no fears for his side as they go in search of FA Cup glory tonight.

The Cardiff manager, Lennie Lawrence, believes that Ewood Park will hold no fears for his side as they go in search of FA Cup glory tonight.

Lawrence's relegation-threatened Championship battlers face Blackburn on the back of a six-match unbeaten run, including a 1-1 draw at Ninian Park against Rovers 11 days ago to set up the third round replay. Few will give Lawrence's side much chance of upsetting the odds, especially as Mark Hughes has engineered a revival since his appointment as Blackburn manager.

Rovers are now nine points clear of the relegation zone after losing just one of their last seven League games in which they have also managed five clean sheets. But Lawrence believes victory is not out of the question, saying: "We go there in good heart and I can assure you we will give it a go. I know they don't let many in, but they don't score many either. It's the same for us at the moment, so it might be a tight one which could go to extra time. We have to be mindful of that, but I know if we start against Blackburn like we did at Leeds on Saturday then we will be out of the FA Cup.

"If we put together a 90-minute performance like we we played in the rest of the game, we've a chance. But it's clear Mark [Hughes] is getting them together, particularly away from home, which is why I think we've as much chance at Ewood Park as at Ninian Park."

Cardiff were run ragged by Leeds in the opening 20 minutes of their Championship match at Elland Road, with United taking a fully-deserved 1-0 lead before City hit back to take a point which could have been all three as they finished the stronger.

With a vital home game against Burnley this Saturday - Burnley themselves facing Liverpool last night in a rearranged third round tie - the match with Blackburn is one Lawrence could arguably do without.

"Yes and no," Lawrence replied when asked. "There are upsides and downsides, with Burnley playing being one thing, but if we go out of the Cup then we've a 15-day gap around fourth round weekend. I don't want that, not the way we are playing, so I would like to keep things going."

Lawrence is likely to be without his striker Cameron Jerome with a back injury, and Alan Lee - who scored the equaliser in the initial tie against Blackburn - is likely to come in.

Blackburn will be without the New Zealand captain, Ryan Nelsen, who made an impressive debut against Portsmouth at the weekend. Nelsen was not registered in time for this round of the FA Cup, and Barry Ferguson and Garry Flitcroft are both injured. However, Lucas Neill and Dominic Matteo return from suspension.

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