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MATCH PREVIEW

PUBLISHED
13:00 29th December 2016
By  Kieran Cleeves

Anthony Knockaert celebrates.

PREVIEW: ALBION V CARDIFF


Brighton & Hove Albion play Cardiff City at the Amex on Friday night, kick-off 7.45pm.


TEAM NEWS

Albion manager Chris Hughton will be without the services of Sebastien Pocognoli, as the Belgian defender recovers from a slight knock.

Kazenga LuaLua will serve the third game of his four-game suspension, while Beram Kayal is expected to return to action in Albion’s Emirates FA Cup third round tie against Milton Keynes Dons in January.

Liam Rosenior has returned to training, but isn’t expected to feature until later in Januray.

For Cardiff, Sol Bamba will be available for selection again after the defender missed their 2-2 draw with Brentford through suspension.

Jazz Richards is likely to miss out, as the full-back continues to recover from a calf injury.


FORM

ALBION WDWWWW
CARDIFF LDDWLD

The Seagulls extended their unbeaten run to 17 games with a convincing 3-0 victory over Queens Park Rangers at the Amex, with Sam Baldock opening the scoring before Glenn Murray and Anthony Knockaert added further goals.

Albion moved to the top of the Sky Bet Championship table, two points ahead of Newcastle United, and recorded their 14th clean sheet in the league this season.

Murray scored a last-gasp winning goal to secure victory against Birmingham City at St Andrew’s before Christmas, following Knockaert’s late goal which cancelled out Lukas Jutkiewicz’s second-half opener.

Albion had previously beaten Blackburn Rovers 3-2 at Ewood Park, thanks to goals from Shane Duffy, Dale Stephens and Murray, which followed a comfortable 2-0 victory over Leeds United at the Amex.

December opened with a 0-0 draw against Cardiff in the Welsh capital, following an unbeaten run in November which included wins over Bristol City and Fulham, either side of a 1-1 draw at home to Aston Villa.

Neil Warnock’s side drew 2-2 at Brentford in their most recent fixture but were minutes away from securing all three points after Kenneth Zohore scored late on, only for the Bees to strike in stoppage time.

Cardiff earned a point away at Ipswich Town following the 0-0 stalemate against the Seagulls at the start of December, before winning 2-1 against Wolverhampton Wanderers at the Cardiff City Stadium.

The Bluebirds conceded in stoppage time to lose 4-3 against Barnsley on home soil, despite coming back from 3-1 down with two late goals.


LAST TIME OUT: ALBION



ALBION 3
Baldock 11
Murray 53 pen
Knockaert 69


QPR 0


Albion line-up: Stockdale; Bruno, Duffy, Dunk, Bong; Knockaert, Stephens, Norwood, March (Murphy 68); Murray (Hemed 71), Baldock (Skalak 77).

Subs not used: Maenpaa (GK), Goldson, Hunt, Sidwell.


LAST TIME OUT: CARDIFF



BRENTFORD 2
KaiKai 83, 90+1

CARDIFF 2
Whittingham 24 pen
Zohore 89


Cardiff line-up: Murphy; Peltier (Pilkington 64), Connolly, Morrison, Ecuele Manga, Bennett; Gunnarsson, Whittingham (O'Keefe 46), Ralls; Zohore, Hoilett (Noone 77)

Subs not used: Wilson (GK), Harris, Huws, Lambert.


HEAD-TO-HEAD

Friday’s game will be the 67th meeting between the two clubs. The head-to-head statistics are finely poised with Cardiff and Albion both recording 22 victories each, while the same number of games have been drawn.

The teams shared a 0-0 draw at the Cardiff City Stadium earlier this month, as Hughton’s side were unable to break down a resolute Bluebirds defence, and ended the match with ten men after Gaetan Bong was sent off.

Albion have only tasted defeat once in their last ten league fixtures against Bluebirds, however the spoils have been shared on seven occasions, with three of those games ending 1-1.

The Bluebirds inflicted one of Albion’s five defeats last season, winning 4-1 in the Welsh capital following a 1-1 draw in the reverse fixture at the Amex in October 2015.

The Seagulls secured an impressive 2-0 victory in 2013, when Cardiff went on to win the league title, as goals from Andrea Orlandi and Leonardo Ulloa sealed all three points away from home.


CLASSIC MATCH




CARDIFF 0

ALBION 2
Orlandi 43
Ulloa 90+4

Cardiff line-up: David Marshall; Connolly, Hudson, Turner, Taylor; Smith, Whittingham, Gunnarsson, Noone (Conway 53); Bellamy, Campbell (Helguson 84).
 
Subs not used: Lewis (GK), McNaughton, Kim, Cowie, Mason.

Albion line-up: Kuszczak; Bruno, El-Abd, Upson, Bridge; Buckley (Forster-Caskey 90), Hammond (Calderon 75), Bridcutt, Lopez, Orlandi (Dicker 70); Ulloa.

Subs not used: Ankergren (GK), Vicente, LuaLua, Barker.

    QUICK FACT