Date:Tuesday October 23 2012
Cardiff City host Watford tonight with the Bluebirds looking to extend our superb home record. We spoke to Vital Watford editor Tom to get his views ahead of the clash:
How's the loan system working for you?!?
It's different - put it that way! We've always been fairly big on bringing in loans, but a like most clubs, just a handful a season. Tom Cleverley, Henri Lansbury, Heidar Helguson, Andrew Taylor, Jordon Mutch, Ben Foster, Adam Johnson and Michael Kightly have all done wonders for us in recent years on loan. This is something totally different though. Whilst the players we have loaned from Udinese in particular are absolutely class technically, there are naturally concerns about whether we need 14 loanees, how much control Gianfranco Zola has over how many come in - the answer seems to vary for the record - and whether or not the sheer volume is having a negative effect on the rest of the squad.
All perfectly legitimate concerns but so far so good. You can already separate the wheat from the chaff and a few look like they might not play desperately big parts this season - Steve Leo Beleck and Jean Alain Fanchone being two of them. Fernando Forestieri, Matej Vydra, Daniel Pudil and Almen Abdi though have all settled quickly and look like playing a massive part in whatever we achieve this season.
Malky Mackay, Sean Dyche or Zola?
Sean Dyche deserved to stay, make no mistake about that. Delivering 11th place on the budget that he did with the circus going on around him regarding finance and ownership, he was a miracle-worker, even if it did take a few months to really get everyone pulling in the same direction.
Unfortunately he has gone and I'm fully behind Zola. He wants to play football the 'right' way and that alone buys you time with supporters at the very least. The team are taking to the passing football and the progress made from the first competitive game in the League against Wycombe to now is phenomenal. He has shown no little tactical astuteness in switching from 4-3-3 to 3-5-2, and always seems to be singing off the same hymn sheet as supporters - or me at least!
Cowie offers us very little, work-rate aside and I know Scotland fans feel the same - what are we doing wrong?
He'll do that. I think 2009/10 he had an abysmal season. He worked his socks off, but he probably put about five crosses in all season. The following season he was excellent, Malky departed & he followed. The rest is history. He is a good player, but he blows hot and cold & I seem to remember you asking something similar last season! Difference being, we don't need him back now!
How's your general form?
We've won three of our last four having come through a sticky patch of four league and cup defeats so we're going OK. We seemed to have tightened up at the back a bit - not to say that our defensive woes are over, but the addition of Fitz Hall and the introduction of Tommie Hoban has overseen those three wins so I'd definitely credit them with playing a part in that turnaround.
Player to watch Tuesday?
Fernando Forestieri. If he doesn't bring the game to life legitimately he'll throw himself around until he wins a penalty and enrages the natives. In all seriousness, he's brought a bit of Latin 'flair' to the club and as good a player as he is, I'm sure you'll be forewarned by Huddersfield and Charlton fans that he hits the deck easy! Direct running, pacey, low centre of gravity, tricky & a big fan of slaloming between defenders, he just needs to get his head up more often (and stop diving).
Prediction for the game?
A hard-fought 1-1.
Many thanks to Tom for his views.
Date:Tuesday October 23 2012
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Cardiff v Birmingham City - Team Line-Ups (Saturday March 21 2015)
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