Championship: Cardiff City v West Ham
Sunday March 4,
Cardiff City Stadium,
BBC One 12.45pm
By the time Charlie Adam’s Carling Cup final penalty had landed in a Neasden garden, Cardiff’s players were halfway down the M4, bitterly disappointed after falling just short of pulling off a famous victory over Liverpool.
Malky Mackay’s team were hugely impressive against Premier League opposition, and will hope they can take some impetus from their performance as they seek to play sides of that calibre more regularly next season. The Bluebirds have made the playoffs for the past two years and they’re in the zone at the moment, edging out Brighton for sixth place on goal difference.
On Sunday, though, they welcome a West Ham side sat second (a single point behind Southampton, with a game in hand), and on track for promotion at the first time of asking. The Hammers will be boosted by the return of captain Kevin Nolan after a three-game ban and are the form side – Cardiff have lost three of their past four league games, while West Ham have collected eight points from the same period (mostly with 10 men).
The reverse fixture, on the opening day, ended in defeat for Big Sam in his first game as Kenny Miller scored an injury-time winner at Upton Park. Allardyce’s fortunes have since changed, and a win will lift his side top if Southampton fail to beat Leeds.