Championship: Cardiff's Sol Bamba relishing Leeds test and confident of play-off chances

Watch Cardiff vs Leeds on June 21, live on Sky Sports

Sol Bamba celebrates Cardiff's 2-1 win over Southampton
Image: Sol Bamba says Leeds is the perfect fixture for Cardiff when football resumes

Sol Bamba thinks Cardiff can force their way into the play-off picture if they can avoid defeat when they host his former side Leeds in their first game when the Championship restarts.

Seeking a return to the Premier League after an absence of more than 16 years, Leeds sit top of the Championship ahead of the restart, and travel to Cardiff for a midday kick-off on Sunday, June 21, live on Sky Sports.

Cardiff are ninth but are just two points off a play-off spot and Bamba concedes the visit of his old club is a match that they can ill-afford to lose.

"As a team, we've been there before. We know what it takes to get promoted, so I think we are going to have a good chance going into the last couple of games," the veteran defender told Sky Sports News.

"It's going to be massive [to play Leeds when the Championship resumes]. We're all looking forward to it.

Image: Leeds are seven points clear of third-placed Fulham with nine games to play

"They've got themselves in a great position - they are fighting to win the league - and for us, we couldn't ask for a better game.

"We want to play in big games, important games and that is definitely one of them, and hopefully we can have a good start.

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"For myself, it's always nice to play against Leeds, my former club, now I am with Cardiff and I want to make sure we win the game. But that's a massive game and it's good to be part of it.

"In these games, you have to make sure you don't lose it. Obviously we are going to try and win, and we are playing at home, but if you can't win it you have to make sure you don't lose it.

"It's going to be one of them, because we have nine games to go and a point gained is better than nothing."

Bamba was replaced on the stroke of half-time.
Image: Bamba was suffered a cruciate knee ligament injury in March 2019

Former Leeds captain Bamba joined Cardiff in 2016, but was restricted to just four league appearances prior to the coronavirus-enforced break in play after suffering a serious knee injury towards the end of last season.

The 35-year-old believes he has benefitted from extra healing time as a result of the interruption and says he understands he has an important role to play on and off the pitch as Cardiff try and mount a challenge for promotion.

"I think those two and a half months were very good for me, I managed to work on my knee and my fitness to come back as fit as I can," he said.

"We've been doing a mini pre-season since we've come back in. And the team had some injuries, but everyone is coming back into things fitter and stronger to help us push on for the last couple of games.

Sol Bamba of Cardiff City applauds fans after the Premier League match between Cardiff City and Brighton & Hove Albion at the Cardiff City Stadium on November 10, 2018 in Cardiff, United Kingdom.
Image: Bamba feels he has a vital part to play in Cardiff's promotion push

"The injury itself is absolutely fine and fitness-wise I'm getting there.

"It's also been good that I haven't missed any training sessions so far and I've got a good feeling about it (the strength of my knee), so hopefully I can play some part when the gaffer needs me.

"But I think behind the scenes is where my role is important, which is what the gaffer keeps telling me.

"I'm a senior player and I just want to make sure everything is okay. I know I am not going to play as much as I used to - but as long as I am ready to go when the gaffer calls on me to and I play my part in the dressing room and around the club - that is the most important thing."

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