Serial winner Warnock at it again - Interview Friday, 25th Aug 2017 15:23 by Clive Whittingham
Cardiff fan Callum Ellis from the Inside Cardiff City blog has a familiar Neil Warnock tale to tell…
Warnock working his magic again, how’s he done it?
CE: As I stated in a preview I did before the season began, Warnock’s got something unique about him that our other managers haven’t had since we got relegated from the Premier League. The experience he has in the Championship is obviously key to why we currently sit at the top of the pile, but there’s still a very long way to go yet.
Warnock seems to stress the importance of unity at the club, and to get where we want to be, ‘we’ve all got to be together’. I think he’s had the full backing of the fans since he walked through the door in October, but now he’s had a full pre-season with the club to bring in the players he feels can take us to the next level.
Who has come and gone during the summer transfer window and what do you make of the business done?
CE: With Nathaniel Mendez-Laing and Loic Damour snapped up on free transfers, both have been superb in the games they’ve featured in and I’m sure they’ll have a big part to play in our push for promotion.
Lee Tomlin is another player who’s impressed me in the games he’s featured in. He’s got some neat touches, and although he sometimes dips in and out of games, he’s the type of player who can change a game for us.
The addition of defender Callum Paterson will add versatility to the side when he returns from injury. He finished last season as Hearts’ second top scorer, with eight goals in the Scottish Premiership, so I’m sure he’ll offer a lot going forward when he gets his chance.
A great start to the season from Joe Ralls has softened the wounds of Peter Whittingham’s departure to Blackburn. I think many City fans are just about getting over him not being around anymore, although others may never be able to let it go.
Obviously, I was gutted to see Whittingham leave, but I was also disappointed with the departure of Idriss Saadi. I don’t feel he was given a chance to prove what he could for us, although he has family in France so a move to Strasbourg was probably the best thing for him.
Overall, I think it’s been a successful window for us.
Anymore still to come and or go?
CE: Warnock’s expressed that he’s keen on bringing in another midfielder before the window shuts. We seem to have a very strong midfield this season, but I feel we may need one more in case any injuries occur. However, it remains to be seen as to whether he’ll get what he’s looking for with less than one week left of the window.
The speculation around Kenneth Zohore leaving has kept Cardiff fans on their toes, and I’m sure they’re all hoping for the window to close sooner rather than later. However, Warnock’s stood firm and rubbished any talk that he’s on his way out of the club.
Stand out players and weak links in the current team?
CE: I’m sure everyone would’ve heard of our main man Kenneth Zohore by now so he’s obviously one of our stand out players. He managed 12 goals at the tail end of last season after he was given a secret pep talk during the home clash with Wolves in December. Despite not knowing the full details of exactly what Warnock said to him during the half-time interval, it must’ve inspired the Danish striker.
Nathaniel Mendez-Laing has to be Warnock’s signing of the summer, he’s been really impressive. With already five goals to his name from the six games he’s featured in, I wouldn’t be surprised if he attracts interest from other clubs during the January window.
I honestly can’t find a weak link in the side at the moment, although it’s still early doors. I suppose it’s hard to pick out a particular area where we are currently struggling, with 12 points on the board from the first four games.
Junior Hoilett was very hit and miss for QPR (mostly miss) how’s he going for you? CE: Hoilett featured 34 times for us last season which shows Warnock’s a big fan of him. I’ve been impressed with him and I think he’s the type of player that we’ve been missing over the past few seasons.
He’s got pace which we’ve lacked for some time now, so it’s good to have him offering something different out wide for a change. Although he only crops up with a goal now and again, he offers us a lot going forward and I’m sure he will be key for us this season.
Current ownership situation? Mad Head seemed to be on the verge of selling up a week or so back wasn’t he? Or has he smelt the potential Premier League money?
CE: There’s always speculation about whether Vincent Tan will sell the club, but nothing seems to ever come of it. He’s already stated that he would sell the club if he was ‘offered the right price’, although the club is in a very good position at the moment so I don’t think now would be the right time to sell up.
He’s fully behind Warnock and seems to be happy with the direction that the club is heading. There’s a real buzz around the Cardiff City Stadium now and the fans fully believe we have a squad capable of getting promotion.
Will you go all the way this season? Consequences of not going up?
CE: I don’t want to get too ahead of myself but I’m feeling really confident for the season ahead.
The only consequence of not going up this season is, if not this campaign, then when? We’ve got a strong squad and a manager who’s done it before, so I think this is the best opportunity we’ve had of getting back to the top-flight since being relegated.
I don’t see any reason why we can’t go all the way - I’ll stick with my pre-season prediction of a fifth place finish.
The Twitter @insideccfc, @CallumJEllis, @loftforwords
At the time of writing two old hands - Warnock at Cardiff and McCarthy at Ipswich - are at the top of the league with four wins each. It seems that experience counts for something and some of the ex-Premiership clubs that have spent a lot of money are not automatically getting everything their own way.