Cardiff City were a couple of stray spot-kicks away from capturing the Carling Cup but the big worry for their fans must be that their exertions in that competition may eventually deprive them of an even greater success.
Since the first leg of their semi-final with Crystal Palace, the Bluebirds have fallen from third spot to eighth, winning just two of their last nine Championship fixtures.
It’s difficult not to attribute that arrest to their cup run, especially given the second leg of the semi and the final required energy-sapping extra-time and penalties.
But if Cardiff are to realise their primary objective of joining arch-enemy Swansea City in the Premier League, they’d better reinvigorate themselves sharpish.
The Championship play-offs wait for no man and across a marathon slog of a season, this is not the time to be running out of puff.
Someone, somewhere, probably said that a win is as good as a rest, so the best way for Malky Mackay’s men to get some wind in their sails is to return to winning ways and in that regard, Saturday’s opponents Bristol City would have been one of a couple of sides you would hand-pick if you had the choice.
Given the lack of conviction these two currently possess, I reckon that national pride will be kept intact and Cardiff will carry a point back across the Severn Bridge.
The Robins are just adrift of the relegation places but are doing their best to put themselves in further danger. Derek McInnes’ side have won just one of their last eight, although that was a morale-boosting home win last time out against Leicester City.
Another 90 minutes in midweek for Cardiff was not what the doctor ordered but outsmarting the Foxes could provide a kickstart to Bristol City’s bid for survival.
Even still, bwin’s 3Way football betting market has Cardiff as 6/5 favourites for the win at Ashton Gate, with the Robins and the draw both priced at 11/5.
That price looks a bit short for Cardiff, especially given that their record of four away wins this season is the lowest of any team in the top half.
However, only Nottingham Forest have lost more games on their own patch than the Robins, so in keeping with the respective recent form of both, this could be a match neither of them are good enough to win.
David James has only managed to keep one clean sheet in his last dozen while Cardiff can only better that by one, so a cheeky earner could be the 3/4 that both teams score.
And if you fancy one of the sides to win, you may as well factor both scoring into the bet by picking either City to win a game of 2.5 goals at 9/2 or Cardiff to do the same at 27/10.
But given the lack of conviction these two currently possess, I reckon that national pride will be kept intact and Cardiff will carry a point back across the Severn Bridge.
You can more than double your money on the 11/5 draw and if you’re feeling bold, 1-1 is a lofty 5/1.
There is a free £25 bet available to new customers and striking lucky on the 1-1 draw will get your account up and running to the tune of £150.
Both teams to score @ 3/4 Bristol City and Cardiff to draw @ 11/5
Bristol City and Cardiff to draw 1-1 @ 5/1
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