Cardiff v Reading - Saturday 15:00
Paul Trollope has challenged his Cardiff players to deliver a 90-minute performance before the international break following a promising second-half display at Fulham last weekend. The Bluebirds have looked tidy in patches without really penetrating but they took on a whole new identity when adding goals to their game at Craven Cottage.
If they can set that benchmark against the Royals, at least for long enough to get their noses in front, then completing the job could be a formality on the evidence of their possession football and the merits of their 3-5-2 system. Split a point between the Cardiff 1-0 and Cardiff 2-0 correct scores at 15/2 and 12/1 respectively.
Reading played their best football of the season so far in the 2-2 draw with Brighton but it was the first real glimpse of Jaap Stam’s philosophy coming to fruition. It’s one thing hunting in packs for a home game against top-of-the-table opposition, but the mean of their two performances at Wolves and Newcastle wouldn’t amount to very much.
The Royals have been much more passive on the road and this could be the ideal setting for Trollope to finally see his tactical blueprint executed to perfection. Possession can look devastating when you’re defending a lead and Cardiff could yet prove to be a team that the rest of the Championship takes seriously when they seize what few opportunities come their way.