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First Team

Hot Off The Press: Cardiff City

Glen Williams of Wales Online previews The Bluebirds

11 December 2019

Though Cardiff haven’t been too successful on the road so far this season, with a few wins over the next month, they could find themselves right in the play-off mix at the turn of the year. How impressed have you been with the first 20 games?

It's been an undulating start to life back in the Championship for Cardiff City. That first away win against Nottingham Forest was certainly a monkey off the back and the Bluebirds will hope that kickstarts a real surge for the play-off spots. There is no reason this squad cannot be in the mix come the end of the season, the quality is certainly there. But they have been too inconsistent and are in desperate need of stringing together a couple of results – especially on the road.

Neil Harris took over five days after the departure of Neil Warnock just under a month ago. What has the general reaction to his appointment been like?

It couldn't really have gone much better for him, really. The first 45 minutes apart against Charlton, the Bluebirds have been mightily impressive. He has instilled an ethos of hard work and that is bearing fruit and yielding results. They look far more resolute in defence and the shape of the side is far better as a whole. At first, his appointment, among some sections of Cardiff City fans, appeared underwhelming. However he has spoken brilliantly so far, about his plans for the academy in particular, and his results on the pitch have certainly won over some of his detractors.

The January transfer window opens in a matter of weeks so, with what you’ve seen so far, in which areas could Cardiff do with some reinforcements?

Firstly, City's squad is far too bloated and there probably needs to be as many as 10 players taken off the wage bill. So that is job No.1. Secondly, there are a couple of areas they could do with bolstering. Both wing-back positions are under-strengthened and a playmaker to rival Lee Tomlin for that No.10 role is also a must. Otherwise, it is a very healthy squad.

If the season were to end today, who’d be your player of the season?

It would be a straight shootout between Joe Ralls and Lee Tomlin, for me. Ralls' industry and tenacity in midfield has been the real driving force behind any success the Bluebirds have had this term and, as a deep-lying midfield player, he is the club's top scorer - which is no mean feat. Tomlin, meanwhile, has been the architect-in-chief. The one player who oozes class and has a bit of magic in his boots – a maverick by anyone's definition. For me, it would have to be Tomlin. But only just.

How much has the style of play and setup changed since Harris arrived, if at all?

Surprisingly, it has changed quite a lot. Harris urged caution when he first came in that this would be an evolution rather than a revolution, but his work on the training ground is already bearing fruit.

The Bluebirds are far slicker in attack and far more resolute in defence, too. Nothing but positive signs in this short space of time.

What’s your score prediction for the Bluebirds’ final trip to West London?

I’m going to say it’ll finish all square. Brentford 1-1 Cardiff City.

There aren't too many more nights under the lights to enjoy at Griffin Park. With tickets still on General Sale, you can join us from just £28 adults and £6 juniors. 

Buy your tickets here

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