Date:Monday April 9 2012
Cardiff City host Watford on Easter Monday with the Bluebirds desperately needing to get their home form back on track. We spoke to Vital Watford editor Tom to get his views ahead of the clash:
b>Earlier this season you stated survival was the aim - you must be delighted?
Delighted probably doesn't do my feelings on the subject justice! We obviously played you at Vicarage Road at a time when we had put together a decent run of games without defeat (granted a lot of draws), but we weren't losing. At the time that seemed to be the feasible height of our ambitions but we have since put together a more rewarding unbeaten run with three straight wins ahead of Friday's clash with Blackpool.
he introduction of Sean Murray and the loan arrival of Alex Kacaniklic from Fulham (who has since returned) really got us firing and although the Play Off's are still six points and five places away, who knows? We're amongst the outsiders and with the number of teams falling over themselves to drop out the top six, you can never say never. It's one of the Championship's great cliches to say that someone 'always makes a late dash into the top six' and invariably 'does well'.
b>Malky Mackay or Sean Dyche?
It's going to make me sound incredibly fickle, but Sean Dyche. He recently surpassed the points tally set by Mr Mackay in his first season in charge and despite a large amount of opposition to his appointment for the first few months he does genuinely seem to have turned the support unanimously in his favour now as we reach the 'business end' of the campaign.
e's done that by putting together results and displaying such virtues as honesty and humility. It's easy to sit here and now and nit-pick faults in Mackay's reign, but the reality is he did a superb job for us. However, one of his biggest faults, and something you've probably noticed with your own patchy form, is his tendency to blame anyone but the players. Obviously it's a ploy utilized very successfully by the likes of Arsene Wenger or Sir Alex Ferguson but I'm confident that you can vouch for the fact that it grates on supporters somewhat.
b>You previously said you'd love Don Cowie back - he's really struggled for us - any thoughts?
He was very poor in the 2009/10 season for us before roaring back last season and earning a move to South Wales. He is not really an out-and-out winger and I believe he came to England having played the majority of his career in the centre of the park for Inverness and Ross County. When you consider his defensive qualities you would have to describe him as a 'wide midfielder'. It is baffling that he is playing poorly for Cardiff considering Mackay knows how to get the best out of him.
b>How's your general form?
As previously alluded to we've won three on the bounce now and are unbeaten in six games - a run that stretches throughout March. We're just praying now that Dyche doesn't get nominated or even worse, win, the the 'Manager of the Month' award for the month just passed else our season is certain to collapse!
b>Player to watch Monday?
Sean Murray. Five goals since making his full debut against Spurs in the F.A Cup 4th round in February, the 18 year-old academy product has been at the centre of our upturn in form in 2012. He's recently signed a new contract, which is excellent news as both Manchester City and Liverpool were known to be sniffing around him when he was still a scholar and had yet to ink a professional deal with the club.
As well as goals he brings assists, creativity and a high-intensity of work-rate, not dissimilar to Cowie, but he certainly has more pace and panache about him. I imagine he will be one of the next players to leave the club for a seven-figure fee, but hopefully that new contract will ward suitors away from him for another few months at least.
b>you could have one Cardiff City player on a free - who and why (not Cowie again!)?
Andrew Taylor! Another one to have worn the Yellow jersey with distinction - albeit on-loan from Middlesbrough last season. The man who inherited his number three jersey, Carl Dickinson, has not exactly covered himself in glory in recent weeks and the jury is very much out on the former Stoke full-back.
b>Prediction for the game?
I would certainly take a point but considering your recent form and our own improvement of late I reckon we can probably snatch a win against the odds. 2-1 to Watford.
Date:Monday April 9 2012
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Derby County v Cardiff - Team Line Ups (Saturday November 21 2015)
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