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The 2022/23 season will come to an end tomorrow with a visit from Cardiff City and it comes with both clubs now having confirmed their positions for next season.

We clinched promotion at Middlesbrough on Good Friday, and that’s now over four weeks ago, but it has been a very different season for Cardiff who until last week were under the threat of relegation to League One and they haven’t played outside of the top two divisions since winning promotion in 2003.

They just about reached safety with a 2-1 win at Rotherham ten days ago and their place in next season’s Championship was confirmed just two days later when Reading could only draw against Wigan.

It’s been a season of change for the Welsh club who kicked off the season with a 1-0 home win against Norwich. At the time, Steve Morison was the manager but he departed in mid-September and his replacement Mark Hudson went the same way in January with former Nottingham Forest boss Sabri Lamouchi coming in. It’s been touch and go for them but the win at Rotherham, his sixth in charge, got them over the line although they have since lost 2-1 at home against Huddersfield.

They are one of a cluster of four clubs, separated by just one point, who sit just above the drop zone although all with a five or six point advantage. Cardiff have 49 points with 24 of those won away from home. They’ve won more away games than home games and have scored one more goal on their travels than they have at the Cardiff City Stadium.

Prior to their win at Rotherham, they had already won away games at Middlesbrough, Wigan, Sunderland, Birmingham, Blackpool and Watford. They’ve scored 21 of their 41 goals on the road and those 41 goals have been scored by fifteen different players with Sory Kaba (pictured below) leading the way with eight of them, and it was only on the final day of the January transfer that the Guinea international signed from Danish club Midtjylland.

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It’s a more relaxed Cardiff who we will play tomorrow and Lamouchi said: “We will try to enjoy it, because we know where we’re going to play (next season).”

He added: “They won the league, they’re the best team in the league, and we wish them the best for next season. For us, we are going there to enjoy ourselves, because it’s absolutely been a difficult season for all of us; the fans, club, staff and players. We want to try to do our best for the last one.

“We are safe, we made it, and the club wlll play in the Championship next season. We have to work from now to not repeat the same mistakes next season, and avoid a repeat of this season. It was close for us, and really hard, but we did it.”

When they won at Rotherham, their goalscorers were Kion Etete and Cédric Kipré, but they could be without both tomorrow. Lamouchi confirmed that Etete is a big doubt while Kipré won’t play as he faces surgery. He also confirmed that Joe Ralls is doubtful while Callum O’Dowda is ruled out.

Last time out against Huddersfield, their team was: Jak Alnwick, Mark McGuinness, Cédric Kipré, Jack Simpson, Mahlon Romeo, Romaine Sawyers, Ryan Wintle, Joe Ralls, Sheyi Ojo, Kion Etete, Jaden Philogene. Subs: Rohan Luthra, Rubin Colwill, Connor Wickham, Andy Rinomhota, Perry Ng, Isaak Davies, Sory Kaba.

Although the main targets were reached some time ago, the promotion confirmed at Middlesbrough and the title at Blackburn, we will still be determined to finish the season with a win that would take us past the one hundred points total.

To do that, we will have to beat a Cardiff team at home in this league for the first time since goals from Steve Jones and Paul McVeigh gave us a 2-0 win on Easter Monday 2007. Although we have beaten them in our one Premier League meeting at Turf Moor, since that win sixteen years ago, all six of the Championship home games against Cardiff have ended in draws.

It ended 3-3 in the final home game of the 2007/08 season. That was the occasion when Andrew Cole chased Darren Purse up the tunnel and, according to local folklore (or Mick Docherty at the Supporters’ Groups Player of the Year Evening) all the way up Bacup Road.

There was a 2-2 draw in the following season and then all of the games in 2010/11, 2011/12 and 2012/13 ended 1-1 with the most recent in April 2016 finishing in a goalless draw.

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Speaking ahead of tomorrow’s game, Anass Zaroury said: “I’m really looking forward to it because it’s the last game at home and after the game we will celebrate with the cup, so we’re really looking forward to this last game.”

The cup Zaroury refers to is the real trophy “The Lady” which was in the Turf Moor boardroom back in 1921 and 1960 when we were Champions of England and more recently, after an unnecessary delay, in 2016 when we last won the Championship.

Because of injury, Ashley Barnes was only able to play a bit part that season but he’s been an influential player since and tomorrow will be an emotional day for the striker, who was Sean Dyche’s first money signing, when he pulls on a Burnley shirt for the final time.

He left a poignant message for the supporters yesterday, in which he also paid tribute to Sean and Vinny, his two managers at Burnley.

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Zaroury said of him: “I call him legend and I’m not the only one. What he’s brought to us this season. In the beginning it was a little bit difficult for him because he was not playing but he showed us that side that he’s patient and waiting for his moment and then he was like this is it on the biggest games. He did a really good job on and off the pitch, teaching a lot of things to me in training, all the experience he got in his career. I think he played a big, big part for us this season.”

Football changes, it has to, and players come and go. It’s always sad when they do and I instantly recall the final home game twenty years ago when Paul Cook and Andy Payton said their goodbyes. Shame they weren’t playing that day, we might not have taken a hammering against Sheffield Wednesday.

There’s no real injury update although Vincent Kompany did hint that Nathan Tella could play although there was no mention of Jordan Beyer who I, therefore, assume is still ruled out. He did hint that the players who have played the biggest part this season could be starting.

With that assumption, and taking injuries into account, our team could be: Arijanet Muric, Connor Roberts, Taylor Harwood-Bellis, Charlie Taylor, Ian Maatsen, Josh Cullen, Jack Cork, Nathan Tella, Josh Brownhill, Anass Zaroury, Ashley Barnes.

It will be one of those days you don’t want to end. You want seasons like this to go on forever. Tomorrow’s events will be extended with the presentation of the trophy after the game. It’s something to look forward to at the end of an amazing season.




Cardiff’s most recent visit in the Championship came in April 2013 on the day they clinched promotion to the Premier League for the first time. They led with a Craig Conway goal just before the half hour but, in the strangest of seasons when well over fifty points were needed to avoid the drop, we scored a stoppage time equaliser through David Edgar. In the end, it wasn’t needed with the final two games against Wolves and Ipswich both won.

They’ve been back to the Turf once since. That was in April 2019 in the Premier League. Wins against Wolves and Bournemouth in the previous two games had left us feeling more secure but two Chris Wood goals gave us a 2-0 win to almost make safety a certainty.

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We probably should have been in front before the first goal came with chances missed. Wood had hit the post, Ashley Westwood’s weak effort prevented him from scoring his first Turf Moor goal, and then Dwight McNeil blazed over.

But Wood it was who got the first goal. A free kick on the left saw us win a corner on the right and Wood made no mistake as he headed home McNeil’s flag kick.

We’d been the better side by some distance but that could have counted for nothing when referee Mike Dean pointed to the penalty spot just two minutes into the second half in Cardiff’s favour. Although there was some confusion, Dean then spoke to nis assistant Darren Cann and between them they correctly reversed the decision.

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Cardiff later had one big chance that Junior Hoilett made a mess of and then, in the first minute of time added on, McNeil went past two defenders on a long run before playing a low ball into the box. Goalkeeper and defender failed to deal with it and Wood had the simplest of tasks to score from virtually on the line and complete the 2-0 win.

Cardiff boss Neil Warnock was still ranting at the penalty incident, as you might have expected, but television pictured showed that the officials had got it absolutely right and with no need for VAR that was still to be introduced into the league.

The teams were;

Burnley: Tom Heaton, Matt Lowton, James Tarkowski, Ben Mee, Charlie Taylor, Jeff Hendrick, Ashley Westwood, Jack Cork, Dwight McNeil, Ashley Barnes, Chris Wood. Subs not used: Joe Hart, Kevin Long, Ben Gibson, Stephen Ward, Jóhann Berg Guðmundsson, Robbie Brady, Matěj Vydra.

Cardiff: Neil Etheridge, Lee Peltier, Sean Morrison, Bruno Ecuele Manga, Joe Bennett, Junior Hoilett (Nathaniel Mendez-Laing 73), Aron Gunnarsson, Victor Camarasa, Harry Arter (Bobby Reid 81), Josh Murphy, Kenneth Zohore (Oumar Niasse 78). Subs not used: Brian Murphy, Greg Cunningham, Joe Ralls, Leandro Bacuna.

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