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Preview: Cardiff City vs. Charlton Athletic - predictions, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Cardiff City vs. Charlton Athletic - predictions, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Tuesday's Championship clash between Cardiff City and Charlton Athletic, including team news and predicted lineups.

Two sides boasting perfect records since the Championship resumed face off on Tuesday evening as Cardiff City host fellow in-form side Charlton Athletic.

Cardiff have climbed into the playoffs thanks to back-to-back wins over the past week or so, while Charlton have opened up a three-point gap on the relegation zone.


Match preview

For the first time since being relegated from the Premier League last year, Cardiff are in possession of a playoff spot, having beaten Leeds United and Preston North End.

The 2-0 victory over Leeds was an ultimate smash-and-grab, with the Bluebirds capitalising on a couple of errors to snatch three massive points.

Saturday's 3-1 triumph at Deepdale, meanwhile, was a case of Neil Harris's side biding their time before scoring three second-half goals against the side they replaced sixth place.

Going further back, it is now three wins in a row for City either side of the three-month hiatus, seeing them not only climb into the playoffs but also open up a three-point gap on the sides in seventh and eighth.

Charlton are themselves on a massive high ahead of this midweek trip to South Wales, having recorded successive 1-0 wins over Hull City and Queens Park Rangers.

The QPR clash was rightly billed as a six-pointer, and the Jason Pearce-inspired victory could very well prove to be the turning point in the Addicks' season.

However, the bottom half of the division remains incredibly tight, with just three points separating Huddersfield Town in 22nd and Charlton in 18th.

Athletic now have a run of three games against playoff-chasing clubs, starting with this showdown against a Cardiff side they have a good record against in recent times.

The Londoners have lost just one of the last eight encounters between the sides since 2008, each of those matches being contested in the second tier.

Five of those matches have finished all square, though, including the reverse fixture this season when Nathaniel Mendez-Laing and Lee Tomlin struck in the second half to cancel out goals from Conor Gallagher and Jonathan Leko.

That was Harris's first game in charge of the Bluebirds and it is safe to say that the Englishman has made a big impact since arriving at the Cardiff City Stadium.

With seven games to go, it is now a case of holding on to sixth in the hope of securing an immediate return to the Premier League.

Cardiff's Championship form: LLDWWW

Charlton's Championship form: WLLLWW


Team News

Harris named an unchanged lineup between the wins over Leeds and Preston, but changes can surely be expected on Tuesday given the quick turnaround in fixtures.

Mendez-Laing and Tomlin have both impressed from the bench after returning from long-term injury layoffs, while Robert Glatzel has two goals in two games as a substitute.

Callum Paterson, tasked with filling a big void up top as Glatzel has adapted to English football, had an off day at Deepdale and may be given a breather here.

Charlton have also used the same XI players from the start in their two games since Championship action resumed earlier this month.

Jonny Williams was a second-half sub against Hull but was kept on the bench against QPR. At a ground that the Wales international knows well, his fresh legs could come to good use.

Former Cardiff defender Deji Oshilaja's versatility has been a major help for Lee Bowyer and he is expected to start at left-back, despite coming off against QPR.

Cardiff possible starting lineup:
Smithies; Sanderson, Morrison, Nelson, Bennett; Vaulks, Ralls; Mendez-Laing, Tomlin, Hoilett; Glatzel

Charlton possible starting lineup:
Phillips; Matthews, Lockyer, Pearce, Oshilaja; McGeady, Pratley, Cullen, Morgan; Bonne, Hemed


We say: Cardiff 1-1 Charlton

Both teams are in good form and have plenty still left to play for with seven games to go. Five of the last eight encounters between the sides have finished level and we expect the spoils to be shared on Tuesday.


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Championship Table
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Leeds UnitedLeeds42249968343481
2West Bromwich AlbionWest Brom432215673403381
3Brentford432391178354378
4Fulham4322101158441476
5Nottingham ForestNott'm Forest4319141055421371
6Cardiff CityCardiff431616116056464
7Swansea CitySwansea421615115549663
8Millwall431517114946362
9Preston North EndPreston431710165552361
10Derby CountyDerby431613145758-161
11Bristol City431710165661-561
12Blackburn RoversBlackburn431612155955460
13Reading431511175448656
14Sheffield WednesdaySheff Weds431510185259-755
15Wigan AthleticWigan431412174653-754
16Queens Park RangersQPR43158206068-853
17Birmingham CityBirmingham421213175267-1549
18Middlesbrough431114184254-1247
19Huddersfield TownHuddersfield431211204965-1647
20Charlton AthleticCharlton431210214758-1146
21Stoke CityStoke42137225466-1246
22Hull City43129225775-1845
23Luton TownLuton43128234979-3044
24Barnsley431013204667-2143
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Premier League Table
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
CLiverpool34302275264992
2Manchester CityMan City34223986345269
3Chelsea341861063461760
4Leicester CityLeicester34178964323259
5Manchester UnitedMan Utd341610859332658
6Wolverhampton WanderersWolves34131384537852
7Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd34131293533251
8Arsenal34121485042850
9Tottenham HotspurSpurs341310115244849
10Burnley34147133846-849
11Everton34129134149-845
12Southampton34135164356-1344
13Newcastle UnitedNewcastle351110143652-1643
14Crystal Palace34119143043-1342
15Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton34812143647-1136
16West Ham UnitedWest Ham3597194459-1534
17Watford35810173354-2134
18Bournemouth3477203259-2728
19Aston Villa3476213665-2927
20Norwich CityNorwich3556242667-4121
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