Cardiff City midfielder Joe Ralls sat down on Friday morning to preview the weekend’s Sky Bet Championship meeting with Leeds United.
The Aldershot-born Bluebirds star talked about Cardiff’s approach to fixtures under Russell Slade, while also describing the ‘tough game’ Neil Redfearn’s Leeds will provide.
“We’ve been lucky with the international break, because it allowed us to get more training in under the new manager,” he started, “and then with back-to-back home wins after that it was a good start. Obviously it was disappointing last week, but it’s been a good start.
“We’re taking it game-by-game. With Leeds coming this weekend, that’s another chance for a win at home. We want to keep that run going. We know Leeds are a big club, but on the day it’s eleven versus eleven. We believe we can get the three points.
“I think with Leeds, you always know they’re going to be a strong side. It’s going to be a tough game like it always is against Leeds – they’ll bring good fans down here, they’re a big club. They’ve got a new manager up there which I don’t know a lot about, so in that respect there’s a bit of uncertainty, but for us it’s just about making sure we’re right, and that we perform on the day.”
Ralls, who spent last season playing in this division while on loan at Yeovil Town, spoke about the impact new manager Russell Slade had had on the players, and how the strong competition for places in every position is keeping everyone on their toes as the boss sets about trying to condense the playing squad.
“I think the boys here have always just got on with the football,” Joe said. “We work hard in training and then try to perform on the matchday, that’s the way it always is here. That’s what we’ve got to do as professionals. We know Leeds will be a strong side, whatever’s going on there, and that means we’ve got to be ready for it.
“You’ve always got to have that competition. All the lads know that if you’re not quite up to standard, you’re going to find yourself out of the team. That’s only healthy in a Football Club. The Gaffer feels that he wants a smaller squad, and that means he’ll have to cut back on a few on the lads, so there’s pressure, of course. I just want to crack on and make sure that I’m around.
“I felt like I benefitted from getting away last season and playing over thirty games – to get that under my belt in the Championship was brilliant for me, and hopefully now I can stick around and put some performances in here. We’re lucky because we have good players fighting for every position. We’ve got near-on thirty full-time professionals here, and though that’s a lot, it’s good for keeping everyone competitive. That can only be a good thing.”