Date:Tuesday March 27 2007
Cardiff City have flourished in the past couple of seasons, an achievement largely attributed to manager Dave Jones who has made them genuine promotion contenders from relegation outsiders.
Jones has made some truly astute signings and spent just a fraction of the cash squandered by previous manager Lennie Lawrence. Some signings have not worked out, but they have all been free transfers and were a short term solution for Jones. Examples being Phil Mulryne, Ndumbu-Nsungu, Jermaine Darlington and Luigi Glombard. No money was spent on these, they commanded low wages and could have been called upon in an emergency.
There is one common feature in Jones' signings, unusual but it seems that he does not favour players from the lower British leagues:
Of the major signings made:
Darren Purse, Willo Flood, Riccy Scimeca, Peter Whittingham and Michael Chopra were all fringe players at Premiership clubs.
Loovens, Thompson and McNaughton were all brought from teams playing in other leagues.
The obvious exception to this is the former Wycombe captain Roger Johnson. The commanding centre-back joined City in the summer, from under the noses of rivals Swansea City, and has looked assured and comfortable at this level. He has not managed to push his way ahead of Loovens or Purse but certainly does the business whenever called upon.
So despite strong interest in players such as Billy Jones (Crewe), Luke Varney (Crewe), Will Hoskins (then of Rotherham), Andy Robinson (Swansea), Billy Sharpe (Scunthorpe) and Marcus Williams (Scunthorpe), Cardiff have repeatedly turned elsewhere for their transfers.
Whether Dave Jones is hesitant to trust lower league players with Championship football is unknown but new boy Warren Feeney was prolific at former clubs Stockport and Bournemouth and has yet to shine in the Championship. Jones must have seen something he likes in the player, and for the foreseeable future at least - Jones has the backing of the vast majority of Cardiff City fans.
Date:Tuesday March 27 2007
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