Manager targets fourth away win on the spin at Reading
In his Friday morning press conference, Cardiff City manager Russell Slade gave the latest on the recovery of his sidelined Bluebirds, before talking about his side's clash with FA Cup semi-finalists Reading at the Madejski Stadium on Saturday.
“Joe Mason will join the group traveling to Reading, which is a good sign and is good to see," Russell began. "It remains to be seen whether he will start, but he’s trained well recently so we’re pleased with that. We’ll see.
"He’s had a little bit of football, starting a couple of times for the Under-21s, so we’re delighted to have him back in the frame with us.It’s fortunate that Joe is at the stage where he’s looking to finish the season and play some football. We’ll take the positives from that.
“Ben Turner is another making good progress. He won’t be around the squad for these two games, but he’s had part-sessions recently and next week he should go in fully. He’s made good progress with his fitness, and he wants to get fit. That’s the good thing with Ben; he’s a determined lad and we would hope that he would be available in the next few games.
“Kagisho Dikgacoi is also making progress. There’s still a fitness element there that needs to be addressed, but he’s in full training now. He has a chance of getting some football before the end of the season. He is working hard in training, but needs to lose a few more pounds and get a little bit stronger, otherwise he’s still going to be at risk through injury.
“Anthony Pilkington is in training too. We’re hoping to give him some football, and if he comes through a [training] match next week then it’s all systems go. Lee Peltier is back in contention for tomorrow, which is good news.
“I don’t think we needed the international break; we had the momentum with us, albeit having lost one or two bodies during that process. But they’ve come back and done so well. That’s the only sign you get on a weekly basis, how well they are training and the attitude they are showing. Hopefully we can keep that going."
The Bluebirds will have the chance to atone for their FA Cup exit at the hands of the Royals tomorrow afternoon, but the Gaffer was under no illusion as to the scale of the task in hand, reflecting:
“Reading have been similar to ourselves in that they’ve had an element of inconsistency.
"They started off quite well, but then their current form is won two, drawn two and lost two. Obviously they knocked us out of the FA Cup, and have had a terrific run in that competition. We know that they can be strong, resilient, and at the same time, capable of scoring goals. They have a big squad to choose from, so it’s very difficult to know who they’re going to go with.Our form away from home has been very good recently though, and we’d like to keep that going.
“We want to finish the season as strongly as we possibly can, and that means picking up more points at Reading. That semi isn’t until the eighteenth, so I’m sure they’ll be fully focused on the league games. They still need points for various reasons, and won’t want to get sucked into any danger. They’ll want to be in a good position to attack that FA Cup semi-final. We’re aware of their threats, for sure.”