Time ticking on Harris as Cardiff falter - Interview
Tuesday, 19th Jan 2021 14:49 by Clive Whittingham
An already frustrating and inconsistent season at Cardiff has descended into a run of five straight league and cup defeats, raising question marks over the future of manager Neil Harris according to Owen Deacon from the Three Little Birds blog.
A good winning run, now a string of defeats, how have Cardiff done since we last spoke?
Recently Cardiff have been in terrible form, winning two games and losing four. The squad look lost and the manager is the one guiding them to the middle of nowhere.
Cardiff league results so far…
Top six was the aim, even when we spoke in October, but it looks a long way off currently – why?
Our tactics have been one-dimensional, often opting to hoof the ball rather than playing it on the floor. On top of that, we have a number of injuries to key players.
Starting to see some social media unrest about Neil Harris’ performance, where are you with him?
Personally I can’t see Harris taking us any further, with the squad looking less and less interested. I think it’s only a matter of time until he’s shown the door.
January transfer window activity?
At the time of writing it looks like we’re in for a few players. We’ve announced the signing of Max Watters, a young striker with 13 in 16 League 2, he’s set to go straight into the side. It’s also rumours that we’ve had a bid accepted Jack Simpson, a centre back from Bournemouth. We’re also heavily linked with two right backs - Perry Ng from Crewe for a small fee and Frédéric Guilbert from Aston Villa (loan). If any of them sign I’m sure we’ll be seeing them feature on Wednesday. Cardiff have been very patient in transfer windows recently, doing the majority of business towards the end. Something which Bluebirds fans can find frustrating!
Summer Ins >>> Kieffer Moore, 28, CF, Wigan, £1.98m >>> Dillon Phillips, 25, GK, Charlton, Undisclosed >>> Jordi Osei-Tutu, 21, RB, Arsenal, Loan >>> Harry Wilson, 23, AM, Liverpool, Loan >>> Sheyi Ojo, 23, RW, Liverpool, Loan >>> Filip Benkovic, 23, CB, Leicester, Loan
Summer Outs >>> Callum Paterson, 25, CF, Sheff Wed, £495k >>> Neil Etheridge, 30, GK, Birmingham, Undisclosed >>> Danny Ward, 28, CF, Huddersfield, Free >>> Jazz Richards, 29, LB, Released >>> Matt Connolly, 32, CB, Released >>> Omar Bogle, 28, CF, Charlton, Free >>> Nathaniel Mendez Laing, 28, RW, Sacked/Misconduct >>> Ciaron Brown, 22, CB, Livingston, Loan >>> Aden Flint, 31, CB, Sheff Wed, Loan
Winter Ins >>> Max Watters, 21, CF, Crawley, Undisclosed >>> Perry Ng, 24, RB, Crewe, Undisclosed
Winter Outs >>> Gavin Whyte, 24, RW, Hull, Loan >>> Joe Day, 30, GK, Bristol Rovers, Loan
How do you see the second half of the season going?
It’s going one of two ways. Either we’re going to keep going the way we are with our manager and end up in mid-table mediocrity. Or he somehow managers to turn it around and we get a run going. If it’s the former then I think he won’t last long.
The Twitter @ThreeBluebirds_, @OwenRhysDEacon, @loftforwords
Pictures – Action Images
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Letters from Wiltshire #34 by wessex_exile
I won’t dwell on Robbie’s latest message to the supporters – we’ve all read it, and we’ve all probably drawn our own conclusions about what it doesn’t say as much as what it does. To me, bottom line, I suspect the clock is now ticking for Steve Ball (at least), turn around this terrible form pretty damn quick, or start clearing out your locker. Regardless of personal opinions on any of the individuals concerned, I would like to think none of us actually wants to see people made redundant in the current climate. But, these are difficult times that require tough decisions. If Steve Ball is up to the job and can turn this around, I’ll be more than happy to support him. If he’s not, he has to go before irreparable harm is done…and we all know what that will look like, we’ve been there before…
Letters from Wiltshire #33 by wessex_exile
Today we face a trip to Crawley, not usually a venue that bears fruit for the U’s it has to be said. In nine visits we’ve only won once in the league, and once in the League Cup. Of course, we’ll all remember that League Cup victory, indeed many of us were probably there to see us progress through to 5th round and the dream fixture against Manchester United at Old Trafford. All of our goal-scorers that night, Luke’s Norris and Gambin, and Cohen Bramall (okay, technically an O.G.), are no longer with us, so let’s hope at the very least that recent departee and subsequent returnee Frank Nouble can bag another like his late equaliser against Mansfield. Steve Ball commented during the week about how tight the league is at the moment, and he’s right that a couple of back to back victories would see us move significantly up the table away from danger – but we’ve got to win them first Steve – something we’ve failed to do since our 1-0 victory at Scunthorpe on December 8th.
Letters from Wiltshire #32 by wessex_exile
Fifty years ago yesterday, Colchester United of the 4th Division pulled off the greatest cup giant-killing ever, beating 1st Division Leeds United 3-2 at Layer Road. Watched by 16,000, and the Match of the Day cameras, Dick Graham’s U’s, a rag-tag band of mostly aging journeymen, defied the odds to defeat arguably the greatest club side in Europe at the time. “The greatest cup giant-killing ever” is a bold claim, and over the years various football magazines and websites have run their own polls of which was the greatest. Whilst that day at Layer Rd always features, as the years have gone by other feats fresher in the memory have been put forward as a candidate – we probably all remember Ronnie Radford’s screamer against Newcastle, Sutton’s exploits, or even Bradford City quite recently at Stamford Bridge – but these pale into insignificance when you pause to reflect on the Don Revie side that we beat that day. Sprake, Cooper, Charlton, Hunter, Lorimer, Giles etc – all full internationals, all household names – the only one missing was Billy Bremner, and that was because he was injured. By comparison, all we had to offer was Ray Crawford – at his peak arguably on a par with some in the Leeds side, but that peak had been ten years earlier playing for Ipswich and England. Eleven heroes didn’t just try and hold out against Leeds United, they took the game to their illustrious opponents with such tenacity, grit and no small amount of flair, and before we knew it, the U’s were 3-0 in the lead. As legs tired, Leeds got back into the game with goals from Hunter and Giles, but we held firm – typified at the death by Graham Smith pulling off an impossible save to ensure the U’s achieved the greatest cup giant-killing ever!
Letters from Wiltshire #31 by wessex_exile
And so the dust settles on another transfer window closing, and despite (my) expectations that the possibility of incoming business was going to be remote, we have instead seen a veritable flurry of activity, with no less than three coming in. Big Frank Nouble, making a very welcome return on loan from Plymouth Argyle, of course needs no introduction. Neither really does feisty Brendan Sarpong-Wiredu, here on loan last season, and this time signed full-time from Charlton Athletic for an undisclosed fee. Actually paying hard cash for someone did come as a surprise, presumably offset by the sale of Cohen Bramall to Lincoln for a similarly undisclosed fee. However, the fact that the Addicks have insisted on not only a sell-on clause, but a rarely used buy-back clause too, suggests (a) Wiredu’s signing fee probably wasn’t too high, and (b) Charlton are protecting those finances with these clauses. The last one, which would have been a complete surprise for me were it not for a contact leaking me the news earlier yesterday, is left-back Josh Doherty on loan from Crawley. Josh was only announced once outgoing left-back Bramall was confirmed, and presumably his loan is directly related to part-time fashion model, TV and radio celeb and former left-back Mark Wright signing for Crawley on a non-contract game-by-game basis in December. We have also released seven from the academy, Ollie Kensdale, Miquel Scarlett, Sammie McLeod, Michael Fernandes, Ollie Sims, Danny Collinge and Matt Weaire, and I’m sure we all wish them the best for the future.
Letters from Wiltshire #30 by wessex_exile
Friday night football – can’t beat it. Gives you that feelgood factor all weekend, sitting back to enjoy a stress-free Saturday afternoon watching others fail in your wake. Of course, you have to win first, which we’ve been struggling to do for a while now, so be prepared for the possibility of a miserable weekend just in case. We share this evening with Reading v AFC Bournemouth, albeit they kick-off an hour later than we do. In the real world, leaders of the UK’s five largest business groups have written to Boris demanding action on the substantial difficulties they are facing over Brexit bureaucracy, whilst French border authorities are reporting that two-thirds of lorries arriving from the UK are empty (i.e. no exports leaving the UK). Still, at least the NHS can enjoy their extra £350m per week…
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