Cardiff v Fulham preview: Tom Cairney won't be risked
Last Updated: 20/10/18 6:57pm
Cardiff go in search of their first Premier League victory of the season on Saturday as Fulham visit south Wales.
Neil Warnock's men are one of three teams without a league win this season, along with Huddersfield and Newcastle. If Cardiff fail to win on Saturday then it would be their worst-ever start to league season after nine games.
Finding stability at the back has been a problem for Warnock's side since stepping up from the Championship. They've conceded 17 Premier League goals this season - only Fulham (21) have conceded more.
The pressure is slowly rising on manager Slavisa Jokanovic, who oversaw a summer net spend of £105m.
However, Jokanovic has played down the significance of Saturday's fixture.
Even though Jokanovic's inconsistent team can secure three vital points and finally build some momentum amid speculation surrounding his future, he said: "After this is 29 games more. The end of the game is not the end of the Premier League.
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"If we win, a long period is ahead and we will find more tough afternoons. If we lose, it's the same - there are 29 more."
Fulham skipper Tom Cairney is nearing a return but won't be ready for this weekend.
Cairney's ankle problem flared up in the defeat to Everton and he won't be risked while Joe Bryan is remains sidelined with a hamstring injury.
However, Timothy Fosu-Mensah could be back in the fold despite dislocating his shoulder last month.
Meanwhile for Cardiff, Aaron Gunnarsson is in line for a return from his knee injury but Warnock's men will be without the suspended Joe Ralls after his red card against Tottenham.
- Cardiff City and Fulham have met in the Premier League twice previously - the Bluebirds won both games against the Cottagers during the 2013-14 season.
- Fulham are without a clean sheet in their last 21 matches against Cardiff in all competitions - however, they haven't lost any of their previous seven games against the Bluebirds (W3 D4 L0).
- Fulham are the only team that Cardiff have beaten more than once in the Premier League (two wins) - in the top-flight, they've won four of their six meetings with the Cottagers (P6 W4 D1 L1).
- In the last nine meetings between Cardiff and Fulham in all competitions, the side scoring first has gone on to win just twice (W2 D5 L2).
- Cardiff are winless in their last 12 Premier League games (D3 L9), losing the last five in a row. They last lost six consecutive games in league competition back in November 1985.
- Cardiff are winless in their last eight Premier League home games (D2 L6), shipping 22 goals in that run. The last side they beat in the competition at the Cardiff City Stadium were Fulham (3-1 in March 2014).
- Fulham have conceded 21 goals in the Premier League this season, four more than any other side. The last team to concede more in their first eight games of the season were Southampton in 2012-13 (24).
- Fulham have failed to keep a clean sheet in their last 22 Premier League away games. The last team to concede in more consecutively were Queens Park Rangers (23 between October 2011 and November 2012).
- Cardiff manager Neil Warnock has won just one of his last 10 matches against Fulham in all competitions (P10 W1 D4 L5).
- Fulham's Ryan Sessegnon has scored in all four of his matches in all competitions against Cardiff for the Cottagers, scoring a goal in each match.
This is a must-win game for Cardiff. If they don't win this game I think they will really struggle to beat the drop. I know people will say there are 29 games left but for me, it will be difficult for Cardiff to turn things around.
Fulham also need a result but they are away from home and the pressure will be firmly on Cardiff, who haven't won a game all season. I know Fulham went to Cardiff last year in the Championship and won but I think Cardiff could bully them this time around. They'll cause Fulham, who are a bit flimsy at times, problems at the back and that's why I'm backing a home win.
PAUL PREDICTS: 2-1 (17/2 with Sky Bet)