Sean Dyche and Neil Warnock share a moment at the Cardiff City v Burnley match. They are rivals in the battle to avoid relegation.

Bluebirds Face Tough Premier Tests In Survival Battle

Cardiff City are battling with Burnley and Southampton are the teams battling to avoid an Premier League relegation slot.

Bottom two Fulham and Huddersfield Town looked doomed, while the Bluebirds remain hopeful of staying up and are at home against Chelsea on Sunday.

That fixture is followed by Manchester City away in midweek and then a crunch clash with Burnley at Turf Moor.

Cardiff hopes of avoiding the drop are still alive and manager Neil Warnock says: “We’re still putting the frighteners up one or two other teams. 

“Our glass is over-brimming at the moment, not half full or half empty. We should be eight or nine points clear of where we are, but we’ve still had eight clean sheets. 

“I can’t fault anything about the club. The fans have been amazing, totally behind us. You forget where we were two years ago and get carried away, but they keep fighting and coming back when everybody writes us off. 

“That’s why I’m proud to be where I am. If we stay up, we could progress by investment again in a better quality squad.

“Personally, I feel immensely proud when I see people like Lee Peltier, not looking out of place, playing as well as he ever does.

“We have to stay in with these two difficult games against Chelsea and Manchester City and have got to hope other teams help us because we don’t want to be too far adrift. 

“There are others, not just Burnley and Southampton, who will be nervous. I don’t feel like we’re under pressure to be honest. The lads don’t feel it either, they’ve been really good in training these last couple of weeks.”

Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri is concerned about the match at Cardiff City Stadium.

They are chasing a top four finish and he says: “We are working well in training, but the reaction in the match is the only important thing.

“It will be difficult because Cardiff City are physical, dangerous in the opposition box and from set-pieces. We have to defend high. Otherwise it will be a problem for us.

“The last period of the Premier League will be hard for every team. We can reach the top four even if we are not able to win eight matches in a row.

“We need to think match by match. The best way is to be focused on the next match.”

Cardiff have won three and lost three in their last six Premier fixtures, beating West Ham 2-0 last time out.

Warnock’s team will be without Callum Paterson, who will miss the rest of the season after damaging an ankle on international duty.

He will have surgery and Warnock says: “He will be out until pre-season – a big blow.”

Centre-back Sol Bamba is already out for the rest of this season, while Matthew Connolly is all injured.

Matt Connolly. Pic: Getty Images.

“Connolly has dislocated his ankle,” the Bluebirds boss said.

“Sol’s operation has been a success and the surgeon is delighted about that. Sol is in Barcelona now, recovering well.”

Aron Gunnarsson, who joins Qatar club Al-Arabi this summer, is doubtful after playing 63 minutes of Iceland’s Euro 2020 qualifying win in Andorra and then the full 90 minutes of a 4-0 defeat in France.

“I was originally told Aron wasn’t going to play on the plastic pitch in Andorra,” said Warnock. “It’s disappointing that he played for more than an hour and plays for 93 minutes against France.

“I don’t understand that at all. I know it’s a new manager and you want to do well, but when you’re 3-0 down, surely you can substitute a player?

“I bent over backwards for Iceland last season to allow him to go the World Cup and he had three months this season when he was out and we had to build him back up. I was disappointed with the Iceland manager and will be speaking to him.

“That doesn’t matter now as Aron is leaving at the end of the season.

“But we’ve been treating him, he hasn’t not played two games and all of a sudden we have got Chelsea and Man City in the space of three days.

“I just thought it was pure selfishness and I’m so disappointed in Iceland for doing that.”

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