Cardiff City have emerged as dark horses to seal a Championship play-off spot this campaign following a run of form which has seen them avoid defeat in their last seven league outings.
The Bluebirds would have been fearing the worst heading into the second half of the season after their 6-1 defeat to QPR on January 1st, but they have since produced a fine unbeaten run which has taken them to within three points of the top six.
Neil Harris’ men have now claimed seven points from their last three matches following their 2-2 draw with Wigan on Saturday afternoon, with the South Wales outfit now sitting ninth in the table with 13 games remaining.
Here, we take a look at three mistakes the Bluebirds cannot afford to repeat as they set their sights on a play-off push this term…
The Bluebirds need to maintain their clinical finishing
Cardiff’s lack of clinical edge has been a persistent problem this campaign, but their recent 3-0 victory over Huddersfield served as a clear example of how the Bluebirds are capable of being ruthless in front of goal.
Callum Paterson is one Cardiff player who has thrived in recent weeks after netting three league in his last five outings, while Josh Murphy has also re-discovered his goalscoring touch in impressive fashion.
It is now important the Welsh side continue to take their chances in the final third in the same way they have in their last two matches, and keeping the likes of Paterson and Murphy in the starting line-up will be important to this.
Defensive lapses must be eliminated
The Bluebirds had kept back-to-back clean sheets heading into their clash with Wigan over the weekend, but some of their defensive frailties were exposed when Latics striker Kieffer Moore pounced to give his side the lead early on.
It was certainly a well-worked corner routine from Paul Cook’s side, but Cardiff should have really been alert to what was unfolding, and these lapses in concentration could come to cost them in the closing stages of the campaign.
Cardiff usually boast a strong defensive set-up and this means they could be in line for plenty of success in the second half of the season, but Harris’ side cannot really afford to make too many defensive errors given they are already playing catch-up.
Can you score maximum points in this Cardiff quiz? Have a go now!
Josh Murphy must be a regular starter
It seemed as though Murphy was becoming surplus to requirements when he was left on the bench for three consecutive matches in January, but his string of fine displays since then means he has now broken back into the starting line-up.
Harris has named the former Norwich winger in his side for Cardiff’s last three league outings, and the wide man has now netted two goals in this string of matches to assert his credentials for a starting spot during the remainder of the term.
It now seems likely that Harris will continue to include Murphy in his side given his impressive run of form, and the 24-year-old could become a key cog in Cardiff’s play-off bid if he continues to ride this wave of confidence.