Pilkington’s in top form – could City be made to pay?
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Q Deadline day has come and gone – happy with your business?
A With expectation checked somewhat by a poor start to the season, I'd say, yes, overall. It's been another window of trimming the fat for the Bluebirds with more going out than coming in, but I wouldn't say that's necessarily a bad thing. The release of Marouane Chamakh and Kieran Richardson justified the short-term deals they were brought in on with a number of youngsters also given a much-deserved chance of first team football, but the departure of Lex Immers was perhaps the biggest surprise given his late-season form last year. Coming in, the loan signing of Allan McGregor from Hull was very astute, one much-needed since David Marshall's departure in the opposite direction in the summer window. The squad seems to be becoming relatively settled with some team spirit building, which given past seasons ins and outs is probably just what was required.
Q Neil Warnock – is he, finally, the right man for the job?
A Given where we were and what was required at the time? Absolutely. Expectations in recent years have had us Cardiff fans feeling that anywhere outside the play-off positions pointed to a disastrous season, yet early-season form and the apparent withdrawal of funding from our Malaysian owners suggested just staying in the league this campaign would be a result. In the bottom three, with a squad that simply wasn't scoring, made for worrying times for us Bluebirds, but Warnock was just what was required and at the right time. The ship was settled, some astute free transfers were acquired to plug a leaky defence, in Sol Bamba, and some much-needed creativity in Junior Hoilett, and after a brief plateau in form the team have put on a recent run to pull us out of the danger zone, for now anyway. So, in short, yes.
Q Is it fair to say inconsistency seems to be Cardiff's only consistency this season?
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A I think when this season is done and we look back at the 2016/17 campaign, it'll be just that. The first half of the season consistently woeful and the second being us eventually achieving what I expected at the start of the year. Mid-table. The biggest positive for me is that we at last now look to be on a decent run of form, especially at home, which has helped to pull us away from danger, which for me, wasn't looking likely back in October.
Q Anthony Pilkington is in a rich vein of scoring form - fancy him to score against one of his old clubs, again?
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A I wouldn't bet against it! He did it twice in the corresponding fixture at Carrow Road and seems to be right back at the peak of his powers now he's no longer standing in as striker as he did last campaign. As all of us know Pilks, when fit, can be a terrifying opponent when he's on his game.
Q Who are the other Cardiff dangermen?
A As has been the case for the last 10 years, Peter Whittingham always has the quality to pose a threat, while the emergence of Kenneth Zahore in our win against Preston in midweek suggests he's a man who could well find his regular scoring boots in the next few weeks. Rhys Healey and Kadeem Harris are youngsters who are now getting their well-deserved chance in the first team after spells on loan and in the development sides and are now proving their worth and could be ones to watch.
Q Who do you see as City's main dangers?
A The Murphys. Slightly left field this one, but all you have to do is look at the twins' recent games against Cardiff to know why! Josh especially. Not only did he score the winner back in October to settle the tie at Carrow Road but he also did the same for the MK Dons the season previous where his goals helped settle two ties against the Bluebirds in the last embers of a League Cup tie and our Boxing Day league fixture. That coupled with the undoubted talent these pair have, as I witnessed in Norwich's FA Youth Cup triumph in 2013, mean they hold the biggest fear for me.
Q And a prediction please?!
A Games between the Bluebirds and the Canaries always tend to be high-scoring affairs so I'm going to go for a 3-2 win for the Bluebirds! Saying that though, I've probably jinxed it – so don't blame me if it ends up 0-0!