Championship pace-setters out to ditch ‘bottler’ tag
Cardiff displayed the hallmark of a title-winning side when they came from behind to break Ipswich hearts at Portman Road.
A Heidar Helguson strike two minutes from time ensured the inappropriately named Bluebirds took all three points back to Wales and reclaimed top spot in the Championship. They are as short as 4/1 to be top of the pile when the lights come on in May.
Having developed the unwanted reputation of big-stage bottlers, Malky Mackay’s side are showing mettle that suggests they can go all the way this term.
Victory in East Anglia was their fifth in six games, whilst they have also been flexing their goal-scoring muscles, hammering home at least two in every game of that spell.
The win keeps them a point clear of in-form Leicester, who also picked up maximum points in their last fixture.
Their home win over Bristol City made it five on the spin as Nigel Pearson attempts to restore the Foxes’ Premier League status.
They are an 11/8 shot to secure promotion this season and have one-time England international David Nugent back in amongst the goals. His opener against the Robins was his fifth in as many matches and his team will need him to keep his shooting boots on if they are to enjoy a fruitful campaign.
Potential dark horses for promotion are 2004 Capital One Cup winners Middlesbrough, who showed a killer instinct to see off Watford at Vicarage Road in the recent round of games.
Tony Mowbray’s men scarcely warranted the three points but, as anyone in football will concur, being able to win when off-key is one of the key ingredients for success.
Boro, who are currently without several key players, are just three points off the automatic promotion spot and boast one of the division’s strongest squads, marshalled by Mowbray’s purist footballing philosophy.
The Teessiders, who were incredibly unfortunate to miss out on ticket to the playoffs last season, could easily sustain a charge to bring Premier League football back to the Riverside if they continue to display such ruthlessness.
All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date