Phil Parkinson challenges squad to "send a statement" to relegation rivals

Phil Parkinson says his side can make a statement to their Sky Bet Championship relegation rivals in Tuesday night’s trip to promotion-chasing Cardiff City.

Wanderers' trip to South Wales is their game in hand, with the chance to move up to 18th in the table with a win up for grabs.

Speaking to before the game, Parkinson believes the match is an opportunity to distance themselves from the relegation zone.

He said: "It’s another big game for us and none of the teams around us are playing so it’s an opportunity to make a statement to everybody else in the relegation battle.

"We’ve got an opportunity to move up but also close the gap on other teams ahead of us.

"If you look at the table now, there’s teams above us who will certainly be looking over their shoulders and that’s a credit to ourselves.”

Wanderers have not played a midweek match since the turn of the year and Parkinson feels that has allowed the squad to prepare for the run of five games in a fortnight they now face.

He added: "I feel we’ve had a long time in terms of training during the weeks and no midweek games to prepare for this run.

"Physically and mentally I feel we’re in a good place and we’re ready for it."

Despite praising Cardiff's January transfer business, including the signing of Gary Madine from the Whites, Parkinson is confident in his squad's ability to compete against the Bluebirds, having already beaten them once this season.

He stated: "Neil’s [Warnock] done a terrific job there and they’ve invested well in the transfer window.

"We look forward to seeing Gaz down there but hopefully we can concentrate on what we’ve got to do defensively and do a good job on him if he’s starting.

"We know what Cardiff are about and we had an excellent win against them and we’ll think about it carefully and hopefully pick the team to get a result down there."

With substitute Adam Le Fondre scoring a sensational equaliser against Fulham on Saturday, Wanderers are not short of options up front, giving Parkinson a nice dilemma.

He explained: "We have got some selection problems and it’s good to have. Alfie came of the bench and got a goal for us and he’s staking a claim for a start.

"Cloughy [Zach Clough] played well and had some good chances and young Tyler [Walker] had a good debut for us and he’s trained well this morning so he’s ready to play."

Several players, including Le Fondre, will be facing their former club on Tuesday night, which the boss says they are excited for.

He said: "Tayls [Andrew Taylor] and Nooney [Craig Noone] as well have played down there and they will be looking forward to it obviously.

"It’s a great stadium to go to and we are relishing it."

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