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20 February 2021 Venue Cardiff City Stadium Attendance

Kick off 15:00 (UK)

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Match Previews

Cardiff City Match Preview

18 February 2021

Preston North End make the trip across the border to Wales this weekend, looking for another positive away display against in-form Cardiff City.

First Team News

Watch Bluebirds Clash Live On iFollow PNE

18 February 2021

The Bluebirds have been on an excellent run of results, with new boss Mick McCarthy getting the best out of our hosts and winning their last four games to move just a place off the Play-Off positions.

The Lilywhites will be looking to continue their away form, that has already seen them register eight wins on the road this campaign, including their last, much shorter, trip to Blackburn Rovers last Friday night.

Greg Cunningham makes a quick return to the Cardiff City Stadium, whilst Alan Browne and the other Irish contingent, could come up against their former international manager.

Match Information
Competition: EFL Sky Bet Championship (31/46)
Date: Saturday 20th February, kick-off 3pm
Venue: Cardiff City Stadium
Kit: 2020/21 third ‘green’ kit – click here to buy it now!
Head To Head: PNE wins – 36; Draws – 23; Cardiff City - 36

Team News
Manager Alex Neil will wait to see if midfielder Ryan Ledson, Irish striker Sean Maguire and Welsh international Billy Bodin are fit to return to the squad, having missed the midweek game against Watford.

Long-term injuries continue to keep out goalkeeper Declan Rudd, German central defender Patrick Bauer and striker Louis Moult.

Jonny Williams could make his Cardiff City debut this weekend, having recovered from a training-ground injury he sustained just days after arriving on deadline day.

The playmaker, along with Liverpool loanee Sheyi Ojo, is ready to return, as Mick McCarthy explained: "Jonny Williams trained, Sheyi Ojo trained, they’ll be okay.

But while Williams and Ojo look likely to return to the fold this weekend, it wasn't all good news for the former Republic of Ireland boss.

Joe Ralls will miss out once again with his ankle problem and Junior Hoilett is still unavailable due to a calf issue.

Meanwhile, talismanic striker Kieffer Moore and in-form winger Josh Murphy are also doubtful for the weekend after suffering knocks in the midweek win over Luton Town.

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Match Officials
Taking charge of Saturday’s match official is experienced Championship referee Jeremy Simpson, making his first trip to the Cardiff City Stadium this season, having officiated both teams once this campaign, both on the road, at Luton Town and Coventry City respectively.

Jeremy was also the man in the middle for PNE’s trip to Barnsley late in the first month of this year, having also been the official at Cardiff City just before last Christmas – last year’s playing of this same game - and our penultimate home game of 2019/20, against Nottingham Forest in July.

This will be his 21st match of the season, having so far issued a total of 63 cautions and four red cards. He will be assisted by Richard Wild and Graham Kane, while the fourth official will be Brett Huxtable.

Match Coverage
North End fans around the world can watch game live on iFollow PNE, with purchases of a £10 match pass available now.

Jonathan Breeze and former North End defender Rob Edwards are on commentary duties, with replays, graphics and coverage from the Cardiff City Stadium from approximately 2.30pm on Saturday afternoon.

Click here now to sign up for a match pass

Linked Stories
Alex Neil Looking Forward To Facing Mick McCarthy’s Cardiff: Preston North End manager Alex Neil has come up against Mick McCarthy plenty of times down the years. Click here for the full interview.

A Match To Remember: It's four years since the Lilywhites grabbed a dramatic late winner, to prevent the Bluebirds moving back into the automatic promotion places, where they would eventually finish the season. Click here for the details.

Alan Browne On Cardiff City Clash: Having played for Cardiff City manager Mick McCarthy with Ireland, Alan Browne knows what the recent appointment at the Welsh club will bring to their set up. Click here for Alan’s thoughts.

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Match Reports

Cardiff City 4 Preston North End 0

20 February 2021

A goal in the first couple of minutes of either half put Mick McCarthy’s Bluebirds on the road to the points at the Cardiff City Stadium.

A penalty in the first minute of the match, converted by Kieffer Moore, and then a low shot from Josh Murphy in the first 30 seconds of the second period put the home side 2-0 up.

Two penalties in the space of two minutes gave North End the chance to get back in the game, but home goalkeeper Dillon Phillips saved from both substitute Paul Gallagher and Ched Evans in an astonishing couple of minutes just after the hour mark, but within minutes of the scoreline possibly going to 2-1, Marlon Pack scored from close range to tie up the win for the Welsh side.

They added a fourth through substitute Mark Harris, just seconds after coming on, as the earlier double stop by Phillips proved decisive.

The Lilywhites reverted to the 3-5-2 formation that was successful at Blackburn Rovers eight days previously, with Greg Cunningham – against his former club – and Emil Riis coming into the starting line-up.

But within a minute, they were facing a penalty. Referee Jeremy Simpson pointed to the spot after a long throw in by Will Vaulks from the left and he adjudged there was a foul on home skipper Sean Morrison.

Welsh international Moore stepped up and fired into the top right-hand corner, the third game in a row Daniel Iversen had ended up facing a spot kick.

The ’keeper was called upon shortly after to make a fine stop, denying Morrison this time, after his header from Harry Wilson’s free kick on the right-hand channel 40 yards out found the head of his captain 12 yards out.

North End began to get a foothold in the game though, and as the half went on, they had more and more possession, the best chance coming after a good period of play, working the ball well with Cunningham crossing from the left and Ched Evans meeting it with a header under pressure from Curtis Nelson, but the effort was straight at Phillips.

A change at the interval saw Tom Barkhuizen replace Riis in attack for Alex Neil’s men in the green third kit.

But within 25 seconds of the second half getting underway, they were 2-0 behind. The ball was turned over in the opposition’s half and Harry Wilson raced down the right-hand side and then fed it across to opposite side forward Murphy on the left, who drove towards the box and slid the ball past Iversen into the bottom right-hand corner from 15 yards.

With 58 minutes on the clock, a Ben Whiteman corner from the right, conceded by Joe Bennett, was met deep by Alan Browne, heading towards the top left corner of the goal until Phillips tipped it over the bar.

A double-change saw Anthony Gordon and Gallagher brought on, on the hour mark, with the Everton loanee joining Evans in attack, Alan Browne going into the midfield, and Barkhuizen tucked in at right wing back.

And North End had a penalty of their own on 64 minutes, as Molumby sent Gordon into the box and Harry Wilson, the Liverpool loanee, brought down the Everton man.

What followed was quite amazing. Gallagher went up and took it, Phillips dived to his right and saved it, but as Gallagher went to follow in, Aden Flint put in a strong challenge on North End's No.12, which saw him cautioned while conceding a second penalty!

This time Ched Evans stepped up to take it, but again Phillips saved it, this time down to his left and the home side were able to get it clear.

And PNE were punished in the 71st minute as Pack converted after substitute Sheyi Ojo crossed from the right, Iversen made a fine stop to deny a diving header from Moore, but Pack followed in to net from inside the six-yard box.

Another change saw Brad Potts replace Jayson Molumby, and the No.44 quickly had a chance to give the visitors hope after an excellent run by Gordon, who drove to the byline and cut it back to the substitute, who then drilled a shot just over the bar.

It was 4-0 with 13 minutes left when a loose ball was picked up by Harris, who had been on the pitch for a matter of seconds, he rounded Iversen and fired into the empty net.

Phillips was again the man of the moment with five minutes left, this time standing up strongly to make a fine stop to deny Barkhuizen, after an excellent defence-splitting ball from Gordon had sent him away into the right side of the penalty area, and that proved the last chance of the game.

Cardiff City line-up: Phillips, Bennett, Morrison (c), Flint, Vaulks, Moore (Harris, 77), Murphy (Ojo, 60), Nelson, Pack, Wilson (Bacuna, 69), NG. Subs not used: Smithies, Williams, Watters, Sang, Brown, Bagan.

PNE line-up: Iversen, Storey, Lindsay, Hughes, Browne (c) (Rafferty, 82), Whiteman (Gallagher, 61), Molumby (Potts, 72), Cunningham, Johnson (Gordon, 61), Evans, Riis (Barkhuizen, 46). Subs not used: Ripley, van den Berg, Huntington, Sinclair.

Referee: Mr J Simpson

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