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Match Previews

Ask the Expert: Cardiff City (A)

16 January 2021

It’s been less than a month since we last faced Cardiff, but Wales Online reporter Glen Williams still had much to discuss in our pre-match interview. Since facing Norwich it’s been three defeats in all competitions for Cardiff. Were they deserving of those or have they been unlucky?

GW: It’s five defeats in the last six games now, which has coincided with injuries to key players. Kieffer Moore is the biggest absentee as Cardiff’s biggest goal threat, so he’s been a massive loss in the last few games and Cardiff haven’t found another way to score really.

They went through a purple patch of form at the start of December which Kieffer was central to. In his absence, they’ve not really found a different way to score because he’s such an influential figure in terms of his stature, he’s a nuisance at set-pieces and so on.

Hopefully, he’ll be back this weekend and if he is that certainly boosts Cardiff’s chances.

Robert Glatzel deputises in place of him, who we brought in for quite a bit of money from the German second division in the summer of 2019 - Neil Warnock’s last transfer window.

He’s failed to really get to grips with the league and fans are waiting for him to click. He’s clearly proficient in front of goal but creating those opportunities for himself and the other parts of his game aren’t up to the standard of where Kieffer is.

He’s a great finisher but his all round game just needs to step up a notch if he’s to match Kieffer’s level.

robert glatzel.jpg Cardiff are 15th in the Championship ahead of this game. Do you expect there to be some business in January in an attempt to climb the table?

GW: I think so. Neil Harris has been very open about wanting to conduct some business. There are a few pressing areas of concern at the moment, chiefly at right back. There are currently no fit, recognised right backs at the club with Jordi Osei-Tutu, the Arsenal loanee, having been out for a couple of months. It’s touch and go whether he’ll be back for this weekend.

Leandro Bacuna has been deputising at right back. He’s such a good midfielder at this level that it takes a lot of legs and energy out of the midfield to have him at right back, so that’s an area they need to strengthen.

They’ve spoken about strengthening at centre back, obviously with Sol Bamba’s horrible cancer diagnosis this week. Filip Benkovic has been recalled by Leicester, Aidan Flint is still injured and Sean Morrison is still injured so there’s a bit of a centre back crisis.

They want a striker in as well so if this happens again with Kieffer getting injured, they have another option other than Robert and academy product Mark Harris. I would assume those three positions are areas they’ll target this window.

Gavin Whyte went out on loan to Hull City this week. It’s a bit of a strange one because he was a real favourite under Warnock, a real diligent right winger probably better as a more defensive winger than Neil Harris would like and he slipped down the pecking order for that reason.

He’s still only 24 and a loan move to Hull is a good move for him and right for all parties. It gets him game time and Hull get a good, international winger in League One and Cardiff get to see what he can do and if he can produce more at the top end of the pitch.

gavin whyte.jpg What was your view of the game at Carrow Road in December and will Cardiff try to do something different to get a result this time?

GW: I must say I thought Norwich were very impressive. Cardiff were poor on the day but Norwich were up there with the best teams I’ve seen this season and it highlighted the gulf between where Cardiff want to be and where they are at the minute.

In terms of doing things differently, they can’t give the ball away as much as they did at Carrow Road. Giving players of Norwich’s quality the ball and so much space to run into is shooting yourself in the foot and asking for trouble.

They need to be far more compact and find better ways of being more of a threat in the attacking third.

It’s a catch 22 when you play against teams like Norwich. You can choose to press, which they did so well at the start of December, and try to force the errors high up but then Norwich have got the quality, especially passing quality, to navigate through that and you’re awfully exposed.

Make no mistake, Neil Harris has come in for a bit of pressure in the last month or so because of the results and he desperately needs a win so I’d expect Cardiff to be a bit more attacking in their mindset.

If they did manage to get a win, it would be a bit of a statement. I expect it to be more of an aggressive performance but we’ll have to wait and see.

You can follow Glen Williams on Twitter @GlenWilliams12.

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