Clinging to a crouton floating in the middle of the relegation broth, Cardiff’s Premier League membership is up for expiry, but a win at West Brom will immeasurably enhance their survival prospects.
Odds as short as 1/4 say the off-colour Bluebirds are for the drop, though three points at the Hawthorns will see them draw level with the 16th-place Baggies, potentially sparking a mad dash out of the basement before the door is locked.
The Black Country club find themselves in a similar predicament to their Welsh adversaries courtesy of a tendency to concede the first goal and this nasty habit could well hand all six of the relegation points on offer here to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side.
Of the 30 games Pepe Mel’s men have participated in this season, 21 have resulted in their opponent scoring first.
Were it not for Fulham’s desperation to outdo all of their rivals in inferiority, this would be a total no other top-tier outfit could surpass and once the first goal has been surrendered, victory is almost off the menu.
In just one of these 21 games of going 1-0 down has three points been salvaged.
This solitary victory is dwarfed by the 11 losses and nine draws that have ensued once the Baggies have gone behind, with their defeat at the Cardiff City Stadium in the corresponding fixture accounting for one of these reverses.
Solskjaer stated after last weekend’s base camp blitzing from the Liverpool whirlwind that his side could not afford to lose on their Hawthorns sojourn and if they can bag first, there’s every chance they won’t.
They’re not the most prominent of first goal-getters, achieving the feat only seven times so far, but when they have got the party started they’ve gone on to win on four occasions.
Going one up is likely to lead to a priceless away win for the south Wales stable and odds of 53/20 about them staying up are certain to be shaved in the aftermath.