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Rampant City get a derby warning

FORMER Wrexham manager Brian Flynn believes Cardiff City will be in pole position for a Division Two play-off place if they beat his old club in tomorrow's Welsh derby at Ninian Park.

FORMER Wrexham manager Brian Flynn believes Cardiff City will be in pole position for a Division Two play-off place if they beat his old club in tomorrow's Welsh derby at Ninian Park.

And Flynn feels the Bluebirds - who can move into the top six for the first time this year with a win against the relegation-threatened Red Dragons - have an easier promotion run-in than their closest rivals, Bristol City.

But the former Wales Under-21 manager has warned Cardiff not to take victory for granted tomorrow - and believes they should prepare themselves for a possible shock.

"On paper, Cardiff are expected to beat Wrexham and their supporters will expect them to do so," said Flynn, whose 12-year spell in charge at The Racecourse ended last September.

"But Wrexham have got battling qualities - as they proved a couple of weeks ago with a 3-1 victory at Port Vale.

"And Welsh derbies are often like cup matches - they can be unpredictable affairs."

A win will see Cardiff move into the last play-off spot, but that will be short-lived if Bristol City - who lost 2-1 at Chesterfield on Tuesday - collect three points at struggling Bournemouth on Saturday.

However, the Bluebirds have a crucial game in hand on the Ashton Gate club - at fifth-placed Huddersfield Town on April 9.

And Flynn believes that on paper Cardiff - boosted by last weekend's 7-1 trouncing of Oldham Athletic - have an easier run-in than their West Country rivals.

"Cardiff have to play sides such as Colchester, Chesterfield, Notts County and Port Vale, and those are all winnable games," said Flynn.

"Bristol City appear to have a tougher run-in with games against Reading, Stoke City and Brighton - sides who are all chasing automatic promotion.

"Cardiff should approach their remaining fixtures with a high degree of confidence, especially after that amazing result at Oldham."

Added Flynn, "I believe Cardiff need 75 points to guarantee a play-off place, which means they need to win four of their last seven games.

"They should do that - they are strong enough to - and jumping into the top six with a win against Wrexham will give them a major psychological boost."

But Flynn - who is still out of work after parting company with the North Wales club - admits he will have mixed feelings about tomorrow's derby clash.

"It would be great to see Cardiff win promotion - the higher our teams go the better it is for Welsh football.

"But Wrexham are desperate for points at the bottom of the Second Division and I don't want to see them relegated.

"I don't agree with the theory that it would be better if they went down and spent a season rebuilding before coming back up. Why not rebuild in the league they're in?

"I really hope Wrexham can pull themselves out of trouble. I know they're giving it their all."

During Flynn's 12-year spell in charge of the Red Dragons, Wrexham and Cardiff fought out some memorable contests in the capital - and Flynn expects tomorrow's duel to be just as entertaining.

"The Welsh derbies in Cardiff have always been incident-packed and I'm sure this one will be.

"I remember some good games down there - and some bad ones - but generally Wrexham have done quite well at Ninian Park."

But Flynn warned, "Cardiff have their sights set firmly on sixth place and perhaps even fifth place if Huddersfield - who are five points ahead of Cardiff and have also played a game less than Bristol - slip up.

"And that means the important thing as far as Cardiff are concerned is winning. A good performance against Wrexham will count for nothing if they fail to pick up three points."


David Holmes
Chief News Reporter
David Norbury
Mike Fuller
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