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Cardiff City – The Scout Report

Newcastle are on fire at present, with seven wins from their last seven games, and a three point lead over 2nd place Brighton in the Championship. Benitez and his men will be looking to extend this run as Neil Warnock’s new-look Cardiff City come to visit.

Cardiff City – A Factfile
Founded: 1899
Nickname: The Bluebirds
Stadium: Cardiff City Stadium (33,280 capacity)
Manager: Neil Warnock
2015-16: Championship, 8th
Major Honours: FA Cup (1927)
Notable Signings  

Lex Immers
– AM – Dutch attacking midfielder Lex Immers had been an Eredivisie mainstay for a number of years prior to his loan move to the Welsh capital last season. Pivotal in the club’s late surge to claim a play-off spot, albeit unsuccessful, Immers was influential to Cardiff’s 2015-16 success. Versatile but physical when necessary, he is a valuable asset.

Rickie Lambert – ST – Lambert departed West Bromwich Albion relatively quietly after failing to make the grade at The Hawthorns, and previously at Liverpool. However, with two goals already to his name this campaign, the ageing brute of a striker may have found his level once again, where he dominated in previous years with the likes of Southampton and Bristol Rovers.

Junior Hoilett – RW/LW – Drafted in by new boss Neil Warnock as one of his most trusted players he had previously worked with at QPR, Hoilett had been a free agent until Warnock’s November appointment at the Cardiff City Stadium. Still only 26, Hoilett has a wealth of experience both in the Premier League as well as in the Championship, however his main asset is definitely his electric pace.

Notable Departures

David Marshall – GK – Captain and leader of the Welsh club for a number of years, Marshall moved onto Premier League Hull City on the penultimate day of the transfer window for a reported fee of £2.5m. Marshall was a top performer in the side that finished 8th last campaign and was arguably one of the only positives from their relegation from the Premier League in 2014. Marshall will be a huge miss on the pitch but also around the club.
Fabio – LB – Brazilian full-back formerly of Manchester United, Fabio left the club for grasses greener in August. Another player who traded up to the Premier League, Fabio joined up with Aitor Karanka’s Middlesbrough side for a princely sum of £2m, after three seasons and 68 appearances for the Bluebirds. This transfer in particular has left the club rather light in the left-back department.

Key Players

Anthony Pilkington –
LW – Cardiff City’s current top scorer with just three goals this season, Irish winger Pilkington held the same accolade at the end of last season, having netted on nine occasions. Pilkington regularly picks up the goalscoring slack when the strikers do not perform and his contribution is always a valuable one. His grounding in non-league football with Stockport County is attributed for his hard work and determination in the Cardiff side, which is missed when he is out injured, as he is one of the first names on the teamsheet, regardless of managerial changing and turmoil.

Peter Whittingham – CM – Cardiff’s longest serving player by a wide margin, Whittingham has been in South Wales for almost ten years now, having joined in 2007. The Aston Villa youth graduate is nearing 400 league appearances for the Bluebirds and is a fan favourite due to his longevity and his renown for set piece specialty. At 32 years of age, Whittingham has reverted into a central midfield role after beginning his Cardiff City tenure as a winger, but still plays an instrumental role in Cardiff’s attacks.

Sean Morrison – CB – Centre-back enforcer standing at 6ft 4in, Morrison has been extremely important in marshalling City’s backline over the past couple of seasons. Not only that, Morrison chips in with the odd goal or two from defence, with nine strikes to his name in just 88 games, which is a great ratio for a central defender. Tough-tackling and a vocal presence on the field, Morrison is a formidable opponent, however his agility is often exploited by flighty forwards.
Last Six Results

Cardiff City
0-2 Derby County – 27/9/16
Burton Albion 2-0 Cardiff City – 1/10/16
Cardiff City 2-1 Bristol City – 14/10/16
Cardiff City 1-1 Sheffield Wednesday – 19/10/16
Nottingham Forest 1-2 Cardiff City – 22/10/16
Cardiff City 0-1 Wigan Athletic – 29/10/16

Manager – Neil Warnock – Any football fan won’t be unfamiliar with the presence of Neil Warnock in English football. Promotions and relegations with Sheffield United and QPR, as well as recent stints at Crystal Palace, Leeds United, Rotherham United and now Cardiff City. Warnock has had no fewer than 17 managerial jobs, and was once famously described by Crystal Palace’s Jason Puncheon as ‘crooked’ for his transfer and bonus dealings and claimed that he was ‘never at training’.
Warnock has never managed successfully in the Premier League having been relegated in 2007 with Sheffield United, and being sacked by QPR in 2012, but in the Football League, the 67-year old has been a figurehead of ‘old school’ style play, by grinding out results and scraping three points by digging in and fighting, instead of adopting a philosophy per se.

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