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Seemingly a foregone conclusion before the first ball was kicked, title favourites Fulham hoped to make Cardiff look over their shoulder that little bit more, especially with Morison’s ranks being severely depleted by a bug before kickoff.
However, the illness-hit Bluebirds held their own during the encounter, although Aleksandar Mitrovic‘s 34th goal of the season on the 41-minute mark ultimately settled the contest as Cardiff’s topsy-turvy fortunes continue.
Cardiff could have easily taken one point if not all three on another day, and Morison was understandably proud of his troops following the full-time whistle, but their position in the Championship table remains rather precarious.
The great escape is no longer just a pipe dream for this deduction-hit Derby County side, but as is the case with their upcoming hosts, taking zero points from the last six on offer has not done their survival bid any favours.
Danny Hylton struck the only goal of the game for Luton Town on Saturday to condemn Wayne Rooney and his crop to another miserable afternoon on the road, but their fate has not been sealed just yet, with the 23rd-placed Rams eight points behind Reading in the safety of 21th spot.
Pride Park has certainly been kind to Derby this season as they endeavour to preserve their second-tier status, but away days fill the Rams faithful with dread, as their side have only won one of their last 15 Championship games on rival turf and have suffered defeats in each of their last four.
Defeat to Marco Silva‘s men leaves Cardiff languishing in 20th spot but still comfortably 13 points clear of the relegation zone, and a tally of just three goals conceded from their last five second-tier encounters at home is also cause for optimism ahead of Tuesday’s battle.
Cardiff lost Uche Ikpeazu and Mark Harris to the sickness bug before the Fulham defeat, while Rubin Colwill, Alfie Doughty, Ryan Wintle and Jordan Hugill were all casualties on the day of the game.
Colwill managed to last just under an hour as Morison scrambled to find a solution, adding to the Bluebirds boss’ dilemma with Max Watters, Sean Morrison and Curtis Nelson still out injured.
The return of Joe Ralls to the middle of the park was a significant boost for the hosts, who may now be forced to call upon 20-year-old Isaak Davies to replace the afflicted Colwill.
As for Derby, captain Tom Lawrence is serving the third and final game of a three-match ban after his sending off versus Peterborough United, while Kamil Jozwiak continues to recover from his ankle injury.
Rooney has no fresh concerns to worry about from the weekend’s defeat, with Colin Kazim-Richards back fit and hopefully ready to lead the line once more, despite playing the full 90 on Saturday.
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Richard Stearman and Festy Ebosele are waiting in the wings should fresh legs in defence be required, while Crystal Palace loanee Luke Plange is also ready should Rooney take no risks over Kazim-Richards’s fitness.
Cardiff City possible starting lineup:
Smithies; Drameh, Ng, Flint, McGuinness, Bagan; Doyle, Vaulks, Ralls; Collins, Davies
Derby County possible starting lineup:
Allsop; Stearman, Davies, Buchanan; Byrne, Bielik, Morrison, Forsyth; Bird, Kazim-Richards, Knight