Opposition view: Team spirit a hallmark of Neil Warnock’s Cardiff City side
- Credit: PA Wire/PA Images
Cardiff supporter Steve Garland is in the hot seat for our regular Q&A with an opposition fan.
So, a bit of a setback in midweek but things are still in your own hands… are you comfortable or nervous?
As a Cardiff fan, I'm always nervous. Just a few weeks ago we were seven points clear and I think it's fair to say that a few of us all got ahead of ourselves (even me to be fair!). But that's football isn't it? Everything from Cardiff City's history should've suggested to us all that we were always going to make things hard for ourselves and that has proven to be the case. Then again, should you have told me at the start of the season that we'd have secured a play-off place and have a shot at automatic promotion with five games to go I'd have bitten your hand off.
It was a second defeat in a row now – surely Neil Warnock won't stand for that sort of form?
No doubt he will call for an immediate response and if this squad has shown anything this year, it's strong team spirit. Those recent fixtures always had the potential to trip us up slightly, but I don't expect those results to hurt team confidence at all and I'm sure Warnock would've quickly written them off. As you said, it's still in our own hands and we've got five games to get back to the levels we've set for most of the season to gain promotion.
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At this stage, how disappointing would the play-offs be … not forgetting you were probably not favourites for automatic promotion back in August?
Of course when you've been in the driving seat for automatic promotion since Christmas, the play-offs would be disappointing. But I don't think we can lose sight of just how far this club has come in 18 months. I thought we'd be playing League One football this season just 18 months ago, so in that context and given early-season expectations of mid-table at best, you have to feel the play-offs would still be a fantastic achievement.
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What can we expect from Cardiff – in your face football?
Undoubtedly, and from what I've seen of the Bluebirds this season, that has been our most impressive trait. The high press, high work-rate, tireless style we've shown this season is something I've craved our team to show since we were relegated from the Premier League. The desire and passion is back in the squad in Cardiff and that is evident in the way we're playing – and more importantly, it's bringing results.
Cardiff have won once in their last 13 visits to Carrow Road – bogey trip or irrelevant?
13? Unlucky for some! To answer this I must turn to an old adage a friend in Norfolk used to say to me, 'we're due one' then! Carrow Road hasn't been the happiest of stomping grounds for us in the past, but I think it's going to be really interesting to see how Daniel Farke's Norwich will be able to handle our in-the-face pressing. For me, our style of play, dictates a tricky afternoon for the Canaries ahead...
Is there a more chalk and cheese looks to the home dugouts today – Warnock and Daniel Farke?
Probably not! Mr Championship, versus Championship newcomer. It'll be very interesting to see who comes out on top as both go about their football in very different ways.
So, City are unpredictable – who do we look out for in the Cardiff side?
One of our strengths this season has been that everyone has chipped in with their share of important moments and goals at key points in the season. As a result, a stand-out player is hard to pick, but I think Nathaniel Mendez-Laing and Junior Hoilett could cause Norwich some real issues down the flanks on Saturday. Then there's always the Pilkington effect to watch for...
And you, as a Cardiff fan – who do you fear, if anyone, in the City squad?
James Maddison. By far the stand-out player for the Canaries this season and in my opinion is of a quality that would make him the first name on the team sheet for any team in the Championship. For sure he's gone off the boil a little of late, but he always has that moment of magic within him that could change the course of a game.
And finally, Steve, what's your prediction?
Even though I'm wary should the 'real' Canaries show up, I think Cardiff's pressing style will pay off and force mistakes in the backline. 2-1 to the Bluebirds.