Albion fans will see a familiar face trying to block their route to goal at Cardiff.

But Joe Bennett is a changed man in more ways than one.

Bennett, the attack-minded left-back with defensive frailties fans watched at the Amex in 2014-15 season, has made real progress since his move to South Wales in 2016.

At 28, he is a better and more mature player than during his Albion days.

He has also been forced to change his game – and is now more about defensive discipline than attacking forays.

There wasn’t really much choice about that with Neil Warnock in charge.

But the much-travelled, outspoken boss, who takes charge of the Bluebirds for the 100th time when Albion visit on Saturday, has got Bennett playing the best football of his career.

The former Aston Villa defender is another who has “come a long, long way” since the 2014-15 season which saw the Seagulls flirt with relegation from the Championship.

Bennett was one of the better players brought in during some scattergun recruitment in the summer of 2014 and the early weeks of the season under Sami Hyppia.

The Argus:

The Teessider brought in on loan from Villa had a bright start, setting up the winner for fellow loanee Joao Teixeira as Albion beat Bolton on his debut (pictured above).

But he had a tough task succeeding previous on-loan left-backs Wayne Bridge and Stephen Ward and had not totally convinced by the time his Albion season ended in a 0-0 draw back at his old club Middlesbrough.

Like Albion, Bennett has come back from that trying season to establish himself in the Premier League.

Those who watch Cardiff regularly rate him as one of the players who looks most at home in the elite.

With promotion secured, he signed a new contract in the summer taking him through to 2021.

He accepts Warnock has improved him as a defender.

Bennett said: “I came to a club as a left wing-back. I was a more attacking option when I first joined.

“Ever since he has come in, we have played a lot of games as a flat back four. He’s just improved my game.

“Defensively, I know what he wants me to do.

“There are times when he doesn’t want any risks at the back.

“That definitely improved my game and I think last season was one of my best seasons as a footballer.

“A lot of that is down to him and the team as well.”

Albion tend to be everyone’s must-win game when they go away from the Amex.

That will be no different at the Cardiff City Stadium.

The Bluebirds’ performance last time out, in the highly emotional game at home to Leicester City, escaped widespread scrutiny for fairly obvious reasons.

But they were poor – and will look for an improvement as they aim to add to their recent 4-2 win at home to Fulham.

They will be direct and physical and look to get runners off target man Callum Paterson, a right-back turned midfielder turned No.9.

Cardiff will look for left-winger Josh Murphy to cause problems but see Harry Arter as a big miss in midfield, even though powerhouse Aron Gunnarsson recently came back from injury.

They could use former Real Betis midfielder Victor Camarasa in a deeper role in their 4-2-3-1 set-up.

That would see Junior Hoilett come into the side on the right and former Bristol City goalgetter Bobby Reid shifted to a role just behind Patterson.

Who Bennett faces down his flank remains to be seen with Anthony Knockaert thought to be in contention for a return to the Albion line-up. But the starting left-winger for the Seagulls could be well-placed to cause trouble.

The Bluebirds have been using Bruno Ecuele Manga (commonly known simply as Bruno) at right-back (pictured).

While the Welsh club’s Bruno is a good defender, he is a centre-back – not right-back.

As for the left of the defence, Bennett will see a few old colleagues on Saturday, having played alongside Albion’s Bruno as well as Lewis Dunk, Dale Stephens and Beram Kayal at the Amex.

But he has no doubt things have worked out well since that tough season in Sussex.

He said: “It’s been really good ever since I’ve come to Cardiff.

“I’ve really enjoyed it. We had a really good last season.”