Cardiff City manager Russell Slade looked ahead at Saturday’s trip to Millwall in his pre-match press conference.
The Gaffer opened by outlining the Lions’ strengths ahead of the visit to The Den, and also provided some fitness updates on certain members of the squad.
“It’s a tough place to go, and tough too because you never quite know how they’re going to set up. Ollie [Ian Holloway] changes his shape quite frequently, and during the game as well, so we may have to contend with certain tactical changes that he makes, but we’ll make sure that we’re very strong, and concentrating all the time. He’s a good man. He knows what he’s doing, and he’ll attempt to get the best out of the team, whatever shape he plays.
“We have to go there with positivity. Tactically we’ll need to change occasionally to deal with what the opposition throw at us, but we’ll set up to try and win the football match again.
“We have quite a few players around, which might cause a dilemma, but I think I know where I’m going with this group at the moment, so I won’t be making loads of changes, that’s for sure.
“Kenwyne still has a problem with his foot, so the game might come too quickly for him, we’ll have to see. We had a little bit of a setback with [Kagisho] Dikgacoi – he played in midweek, but he’s picked up an injury so he will be out. Ben Turner played in the week, so we’re pleased about that, but he’s not quite where we need him at the moment in order to play a full game. Of the others, everybody that started on Tuesday has come through, so there are no issues there.
“There’s been a rise in confidence, and probably a turn in togetherness as well amongst the group. We’re seeing them grow stronger by the week, and then when you get a positive performance as well it’s a great platform."
The Bluebirds boss also had kind words for three of his star performers, with Adam le Fondre, Federico Macheda and Bruno Ecuele Manga all hitting form during the side’s recent successes.
“You’d have to fight to take his goal off him, that’s for sure,” Slade said. “Adam is a little bit chirpier now, and that’s what he’s got to have; a little bit of swagger which he’s starting to get back. I’ve seen that with a few players in truth – some might have been a little bit quiet when I first arrived, but now they’re starting to express themselves a little bit more off the pitch. I like to communicate with my group, and I like them to communicate with each other – I think it’s important that you have that kind of close relationship.
“Of course, sometimes you’ll have people falling out, but every family has that, you’ve just got to make sure you get back on terms with one another. In the Championship, Adam can be a force. He’s starting now and getting minutes under his belt, and that can only help him.
“Kiko [Macheda] certainly needed a bucket-load of confidence and self-belief. We’ve given him that, and the fact that he was available over the international break has helped him. Now he can look me straight in the eye and take things on board.
“He’s always had a little bit of pace, and I’ve spoken to the managers that he’s played under, and he’s always been a tremendous finisher. He’s got two goals in two games now, so we’re seeing that.
“Bruno [Ecuele Manga] has done extremely well for us so far, and that will only improve as his English improves. The impressive thing about Bruno is that he’s playing new opponents every week and therefore adapting every week. Sometimes when players don’t know the league they take a little bit of time to settle, but Bruno has taken to it like a duck to water.
“All we’re doing is taking it one game at a time, and trying to build some momentum. Of course, along the way there are going to be setbacks, there’s no doubt about that, it happens to every successful team.”