Leon Barnett enjoyed his first outing as a Cardiff City player, making his debut and collecting his first clean sheet just over twenty four hours after his solitary training session in South Wales.
The call from Canaries boss Chris Hughton came on Thursday, much to Leon’s surprise.
“It was right out of the blue,” he said. “I was sitting on the sofa at home watching television when I got the call. The two gaffers had talked and I jumped at the chance as this is a challenge that I needed. Joining the leaders is as exciting as a loan move can get and it was great to join a club with such ambition. Playing for a team who are top of the Championship is perfect for me. These are the matches I want to be involved in, playing for a successful team and maybe helping ‘City earn promotion.”
There was little time for Leon to prepare for his first game, having to learn on the go next to youngster Ben Nugent in a brand new Bluebirds back four at Hillsborough. The first half saw a few moments of concern as the fledgling partnership was under pressure from the Owls, but a much more assured second forty five minutes followed along with a clean sheet for winners Cardiff City.
Talking of the match Leon said, “Ben did really well and surprised me with the quality of his defending. I watched him in a development match a few weeks ago and he did well then. This was a different test at Championship level, but he won his headers and tackled well. It was an extremely good start to our partnership.
“The win against Wednesday has put a smile on my face and I have two weeks to train with the squad before our next match against Peterborough. The international break gives me time to settle in Cardiff. I knew three or four of the players before I came and it’s already clear this is a good bunch of players. There is a good mentality here.”
The loan spell continues at London Road in twelve days’ time and will see Leon available for selection for our next five matches. For Leon though, the focus remains on the present and the next opponent standing in our way. With experience of two promotions under his belt, the defender also wants feet to be firmly planted from all connected with the club. Nothing is done yet, not in this league.
“I’m just looking at the month right at the moment, but if I’m asked to be here for more than that I would talk to my agent about that,” he said. “I wasn’t playing matches at Norwich and it’s great to be involved with Cardiff.
“It’s not time to talk about Cardiff being promoted. There are too many games to play for that, but the players have a great attitude. There is a lot of quality in this team, but the team are prepared to grind it out when needed. This team is up there with the Albion and Norwich squads I was in and, if anything, Cardiff have even more attributes. I see no reason why Cardiff won’t be promoted, but we still have a lot of work to do.”