BARNSLEY boss Mark Robins knows his side face a tough ask to beat Championship high-fliers Cardiff City on Sunday.
But in many ways there is no better time for the Reds to catch their opponents cold with the Bluebirds having lost their last two league outings.
Dave Jones’ promotion-chasing side are still sitting pretty in fourth place in the table despite having failed to score in recent defeats to Crystal Palace and Ipswich Town.
“We had two very good wins against them [Cardiff] last season,” Robins told he Star. “We enjoyed a good performance at their place. Daniel Bogdanovic scored a couple of early goals and we played well.
“But this is a different season and we know we’re going to be up against. Perennially Cardiff are always up there [at the top end of the division], they’ve got everything in place to do well. They’re one of the six favourites to get promoted. But if we can stay in the game with them then we can get the right result.”
The Reds lost 2-1 at home to the Bluebirds when the two sides clashed at Oakwell back in early October, but Robins’ side were boosted by a welcome 2-1 victory over Scunthorpe United on Tuesday and go into the game full of confidence.
“It was good to get a win against Scunthorpe,” added Robins. “We had gone six games without one, so it was important we ended that run. It’s done everyone the world of good.
“But we’ve had a poor away run this season and we’d like to improve on that.
“They’ve [Cardiff] strengthened since we played them last time. They’re a very good side who are managed by a very experienced manager.
“I’ve got a lot of respect for Dave Jones and what he’s done at the club. It wasn’t long ago that they were close to going into administration, but now they’ve got new owners, a new stadium and they’re still right up there at the top of the league.
“Last year they could have got promoted and it’s credit to Dave and his players that they’re up there [in the top six] again after a good run this season.”
The Reds look set to face three former players at the Cardiff City Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Former Reds striker Jon Parkin and ex-Oakwell midfielders Michael Chopra and Stephen McPhail are all set to feature against their former club.
Yorkshireman Parkin is not expected to start having recently featured as a substitute, but Chopra - who has scored 11 goals this season in all competitions - and McPhail are expected to start.
And with Craig Bellamy and Jay Bothroyd also in their ranks, Robins is acutely aware of the threat the Welsh outfit pose.