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Three To Watch: Cardiff City (H)

Can Reading keep up their recent good form? Jack Simpson takes a look at the opposition ahead of Monday’s clash in front of the Sky Sports cameras.

Cardiff City v Leeds United - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

Sean Morrison

Sean Morrison will be a familiar name to Reading fans, having played 45 times for the Royals and scoring three goals between 2011 and 2014. The centre-back is still disliked by many Reading fans over the way he handled his departure from the club, with former Reading manager Nigel Adkins saying:

"Sean came to see me and said he wanted to speak to Cardiff. He saw the director of football (Nick Hammond) as well to reiterate what he said to me."

During last season when Cardiff finished a modest 12th place in the Championship table, Morrison was one of the Bluebirds’ best players keeping 10 clean sheets.

In terms of playing style, Morrison is exactly the kind of centre half that Neil Warnock values: defensively strong and powerful, but also clearing his lines when required. Of all the Cardiff defenders he has the most clearances of anyone with an average of 7.5 per game.

To put this into context, that is some way ahead of Liam Moore who has averaged 6.2 clearances per game.

Cardiff City v Leeds United - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

Joe Ralls

The 24 year-old Cardiff academy graduate has become a key player for Neil Warnock’s side having appeared in 19 Championship games this season. Ralls has a great campaign for the Bluebirds with five goals and one assist in the league.

Playing in central midfield, Ralls has the ability to pick at out a pass for his team-mates. He has so far managed to average 1.7 key passes per game, which is the best of anyone in the Cardiff side, and some way ahead of Liam Kelly (1.5).

This suggests that Ralls will be tasked at providing creativity for his team-mates and give the likes of Danny Ward ammunition. Therefore, Joey Van Den Berg will need to be on alert in order to sniff out the danger and keep this talented midfielder quiet.

Junior Hoilett

Junior Hoilett arrived at Cardiff as a free agent in October 2016 and is one of the Bluebirds’ best players. Playing on the left wing, the former QPR man has a wonderful season so far with six goals and five assists in 20 league appearances.

The Canadian also loves to get shots away, in fact he has averaged 2.4 per game, the second best of anyone in the Cardiff side behind Kenneth Zohore (3.1). He also manages 1.7 dribbles per game, which suggests that he’s not afraid to run at defenders with his pace and trickery.

Leandro Bacuna or Chris Gunter will therefore have to be on high-alert, as this could be the battle that decides who comes out on top when the two sides meet.