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Bluebirds looking to feather their nest with Blackburn win

For all of, market-leading 8/1 Championship title favourites Cardiff City‘s attacking recruitments following their relegation from the Premier League, former Republic of Ireland Under-21 international Joe Mason looks a great bet to score against Blackburn Rovers.

The Bluebirds travel to Ewood Park as the curtain is raised on the new football season as 12/5 outsiders for victory, but Mason has three goals in as many outings against this opposition. Coral’s tasty price of 5/2 in the anytime market looks attractive, not least because this player has come off the bench to net at this ground.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is, of course, far more likely to start with one or two of the three strikers he has signed. The Cardiff coach brought in Federico Macheda from old club Manchester United, a 9/4 chance to score a debut goal, and prolific Reading frontman Adam Le Fondre, who is 13/2 to score first on his bow.

Cardiff have endured some high-profile departures this summer, the most recent being forward-thinking midfielder Jordon Mutch. Bluebirds boss Solskjaer has swiftly replaced him and Inter Milan-bound Gary Medel with Birmingham City’s Tom Adeyemi – a 9/2 chance to make an instant impact by grabbing a goal at anytime.

Recent history may be on Cardiff’s side in this fixture, with three straight wins in all competitions, but their current defensive options are cause for concern. Solskjaer will be without the suspended Juan Cala, while Steven Caulker was sold to QPR and Ben Turner is injured.

That leaves club captain Mark Hudson, who will be very rusty after a long-term injury and failure to win his place back in the Bluebirds XI last term, and Mark Connolly as the centre back pairing.

Blackburn start at a more fancied 13/10 for a home win, therefore, and have the 6/1 favourite to be Championship top scorer, Jordan Rhodes, in their ranks. He is even-money in the anytime market here, so a better bet may be strike partner Rudy Gestede netting against his former club.

The Benin international is a 13/8 chance for a goal in this game, and a more attractive price of 6/1 to score first. Gestede’s place in the Rovers XI is under threat from summer signing Chris Brown, though, who is 15/8 to cap his bow by being on target anytime. However, Coral are offering 3/1 on Rovers to win and Rhodes to notch on any occasion in the match.

Alex Baptiste is Gary Bowyer’s other bit of business, and the former Blackpool defender is 8/1 to nick a goal, perhaps from a set piece. Gestede and Luke Varney spent time on loan at Rovers last term before making permanent transfers.

Opening contests can underwhelm, so punters must consider backing a draw here at 9/4, especially as the player turnover at Cardiff may mean Solskjaer’s side need time to gel. This is also a lengthy trip for them.

Bowyer, meanwhile, must decide who is the best foil for Scotland striker Rhodes. Brown is a new arrival, but Gestede will be desperate to turn out against his old team. Rovers had strong home form last term, losing just five times, so a bet on a 2-1 scoreline in their favour (17/2) or a Blackburn victory with both sides scoring here (15/4) is very tempting.