Malky Mackay praised his squad for their aptitude ahead of Tuesday evening’s Championship clash with Brighton & Hove Albion – but warned against complacency as the season enters its final third.
City remain eight points clear at the top of the division with a game in hand over second placed Hull, though will know they’re in for a tough test on Tuesday against a Brighton side who they’ve not beaten since the Seagulls returned to Championship level.
“It’s really pleasing to be in [this] situation,” said the Gaffer to Press on Monday. “We know that there are still a lot of games to go, a lot of points to play for, but I’m delighted that we’ve got that gap.
“There are a few clubs in this division that are on a little roll, and while that makes for good viewing for the neutral, any of those top-six or so clubs could go on a good run. I think the fact that we’ve got experience within the camp in terms of staff and players has helped us. It’s a lot of games in a short space of time, so that experience is vital. We keep business-like and focused, and we keep being professional, and that’s what I’m seeing from my players at the moment.”
“Brighton are another top team that over the last couple of years have been there or thereabouts. There’s a good nucleus of players there and a lovely new stadium.”
As for likely personnel on Tuesday night, the Gaffer had positive news regarding two of this season’s key performers – and praise for a new addition to the pack.
He said: “Ben [Turner] is back and will be available tomorrow; Ben Nugent has a dead leg and we’ll look at him today. Craig Conway is another one who’ll be back in contention after suffering some tightness following the Huddersfield game.
(On Fraizer Campbell) “I knew when I decided to start him that it was going to be a case of me saying, ‘give me everything you’ve got until I see that you’ve blown up, and then I’ll take you off the pitch’, and he did that. He put his heart and lungs into it from the first minute.
“Obviously goal-scorers want goals and I’m delighted that he got two, but I’m mainly delighted at the way he’s thrown himself into the team. We brought him to the club because we knew what he could do and the amount of talent that he’s got, but we also knew the type of boy he was. That’s as important because if a player is not willing to buy into the ethos of the group and wanting to work hard both in training and in games, then he’s not someone that I want here.
“Fraizer is now over that first hurdle of starting a game and lasting as long as he can, and I’m sure that there’s going to be another couple of those up until the point where he gets up to speed and he can play ninety minutes constantly. You’ve got to be aware of his lack of game time in the last six months.”
The Gaffer’s final words were for the Cardiff City supporters who made for a 25,000 plus strong crowd for Saturday’s game against Bristol City on Saturday – a divisional best.
“We had a fantastic crowd on Saturday,” Malky added. “There’s a passion about them that makes them want to watch their team – they have turned the Stadium into a fortress.
“Football fans want to watch their team do well and that’s what Cardiff City are doing at the moment.”