Leeds United will have to break new ground to win at Cardiff City - Bluebirds in focus
LEEDS UNITED will face a jubilant Cardiff City side eyeing a late surge into the Championship's play-offs come Sunday's clash in south Wales.
City boss Neil Harris was taking in just his sixth game in charge when Leeds somehow allowed Cardiff to fight back from being 3-0 down to draw 3-3 at Elland Road in December.
That meant three wins, two draws and a defeat from Harris' first six games and the Bluebirds have by and large been hard to beat since.
Only three more defeats in their next 19 games in league and cup followed with City strangely hammered 6-1 at QPR on New Year's Day before going on an 11-game unbeaten run.
That impressive sequence featured a 2-1 victory at home to West Brom at the end of January but heartache in the FA Cup fourth round as the Bluebirds lost on penalties at home to Reading following a 3-3 draw in a Cardiff City Stadium replay.
The unbeaten run was then ended in a 2-0 loss at Stoke City before a 1-0 reverse at Nottingham Forest immediately followed but Harris' side then held visiting Brentford to a 2-2 draw before Saturday's 2-0 win at Barnsley.
The result has left Cardiff ninth and just two points off the play-offs with Harris optimistic his side can gatecrash the top six.
Under former boss Neil Warnock, Cardiff also held Fulham to a 1-1 draw back in August meaning Leeds will have to break new ground and become the first side in the top four to win at the Cardiff City Stadium this season in order to leave with all three points.
Cardiff, though, lost the services of top scorer Lee Tomlin ahead of last month's clash against Stoke with a knee injury picked up in training.
Tomlin, so impressive at Elland Road in the 3-3 draw, had weighed in with six goals and six assists in 17 outings since Harris took charge.
Tomlin has missed Cardiff's last four games and defender Curtis Nelson is now the only player to have played every game since Harris took charge.
Goals from Will Vaulks and Callum Patterson ensured Saturday's 2-0 win at Barnsley with Patterson excelling in the lone striker role as part of a 4-5-1 of sorts with Albert Adomah and Junior Hoilett either side of him.
Wales international Vaulks also earned rave reviews for his performance in centre midfield.
Tomlin remains top of the Cardiff assists charts with seven - the same as United's leading assist man Jack Harrison - but Aden Flint also has four.
Joe Ralls is second top scorer with six while Paterson and Danny Ward both have five each.