Club News

Malky says squad ready to tackle Craven Cottage

Boss Malky Mackay and his Cardiff City side go in search of their first Barclays Premier League away victory as they travel to Fulham and Craven Cottage for the first time for over 15 years tomorrow.

Drawing on plenty of positives despite a last gasp defeat to Spurs last weekend, with previous encounters at home against Manchester City and Everton very much going in their favour, City are relishing the challenge against a strong Fulham side full of top flight experience.

And speaking before City’s second trip to London in a week, Malky said: “We’re desperate to get started again. We had the game against West Ham in the Cup to deal with in midweek so it’s been a bit of a split period for the groups but we’re all desperate to get into a game again.

“As I’ve said before, there’s a belief within them, I’ve seen that since half-time at the opening day of the season. We can compete at this level and I think we’ve certainly shown that in the last few weeks.

“It’s another away game and anything on the road in the Barclays Premier League is tough as you see every week. We’re absolutely relishing going up there and there’s no doubt that it’s going to be a tough task.”

Fulham secured a confident 2-1 win over Everton in midweek to progress to the fourth round of the Capital One Cup, taking their mind off an unusually varied start in the league that has seen them score just three goals so far this season.

But with talented former Manchester United striker Dimitar Berbatov likely to be partnered by vastly experienced goal threat of Darren Bent up front, the City manager is fully aware of the tough test ahead for City at Craven Cottage on Saturday.

“I’ve been down to Craven Cottage many times over the last few years and there was a fantastic atmosphere there, especially during their European run.” said Malky. “Every game we play against top, top players and they’re both very experienced and have plenty of good attributes. I can see why Martin has brought those players in.

“I know the individual skill that half a dozen of the team have, they’re all match winners and they’ve got an experienced manager. We’re fully aware of the task at hand but we’re really looking forward to taking to the field tomorrow.

“Each week there is a challenge in the Premier League. There is no easy week and if you start thinking like that then you’re not going to last very long. You treat everyone with the same importance, just like we did last year.

“Everyone realises how key it is to go away and win on the road but it’s just not an easy thing to do, statistics show that. Everyone’s in the same boat.”

And as a former defender himself, the City boss knows the importance of a strong and confident defence especially given the demands of the Premier League. It’s something the Bluebirds certainly looked to have acquired in the top flight so far with the additions of Steven Caulker and full-back Kevin Theophile-Catherine both fitting into the back four seamlessly since their summer arrivals.

“An effective defence is about getting training time together, getting to know each other and getting the tactical acumen right,” said Malky. “You have to work hard at your sport, like anyone, and we’re certainly doing that.

“As people get to know each other and get to know each other’s job and the longer you play together, the more you know about what strengths and weaknesses you all have. That’s something that we try and work on over a period of time; it helps if you get a stable defence with the same people in the same positions.

“Steven Caulker and Kevin Theophile-Catherine have come into the building and are relatively new, but they’re both very experienced, calm heads which makes a huge difference.”