Cardiff City are returning towards a full strength squad and welcome back livewire striker Michael Chopra ahead of the Severnside derby against Bristol City. Chopra spent 2 months on the sidelines following ankle ligament damage but returned to full training and reserve team action over the International break – he is in contention to start.
Craig Bellamy is also available for selection, having missed Wales EURO double-headers over the past fortnight. He has been struggling to get his troublesome knww problem under control, but now appears settled and has reverted to his previous training regime to maximise gametime.
On-loan Manchester United midfielder Danny Drinkwater remains out injured with a thigh strain. The club medical staff are monitoring the situation closely, but are reluctant to put a date on his return given that he suffered a similar injury while on loan at Huddersfield Town last season and ended up missing three months.
Paul Quinn has suffered a knee injury while Darcy Blake is also unavailable after picking us a suspension courtesy of two bookable offences and subsequent red card at Barnsley. His place in midfield could go to Chopra, or Stephen McPhail depending on Dave Jones` preferred formation.
Whilst close to fitness, former Middlesbrough centre-back Chris Riggott is not yet ready to make his first team bow, and was left out of the reserves squad as a precaution. Kevin McNaughton would deputise at centre-half in an emergency.
Bristol City appear to have relatively few injury worries of their own, despite a freak golfing accident that threatened to keep defender Jamie McAllister out of action. The Scottish left-back was struck on the head by an errant golf ball during a teambuilding session this week. However, the impact left no lasting damage save a cut and slightly bruised ego.
The Robins have welcomed on-loan striker Sam Vokes back to Ashton Gate, as he recovers from a hamstring injury that saw his recalled to parent club Wolves for consultation. He is nearing a return to action, but is not available to face Cardiff City. Another striker who will miss out is last season`s top scorer Nicky Maynard – the explosive striker will sit out another couple of months after serious knee surgery.
Although without two quality striekers, Brsitol City are still able to call on the likes of Jon Stead, Brett Pitman, Danny Haynes and Dave Clarkson meaning they remain a potent attacking threat.
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