Ahead of Cardiff City’s final match before the international break, Russell Slade spoke to the assembled Press and Media at the Vale.
City travel to take on Nottingham Forest tomorrow afternoon and will be hoping for a similar result to the final day of last season, when the Bluebirds won 2-1 at the City Ground. Nevertheless, Slade warned that his side should expect another difficult test this time out.
“Pre-season gives you an opportunity to regroup as a squad and as a team,” he began. “They may be more organised and more together as a result. They’ve had a week free of fixtures too, which I think helps.
“It will be tough as the City Ground is never an easy place to go. However, we got a wonderful result there last time and we’ll be looking to repeat that. Let’s hope we manage to pull that off tomorrow as well.”
When asked about the current state of his squad, the City boss was keen to praise the sharpness and fitness levels of his men, who have put in several tireless performances so far in this campaign.
“We have been solid, looked organised and played well off a good structure,” he continued. “We’ve been able to score in all of our games too, so we go into the match in good nick and we’re looking forward to the game.
“The fact that we can now keep going and look a threat until the end of the match shows you what you need to know about our fitness levels.
“I’m sure the players would be the first to tell you that they feel like they’re in a better place going into a campaign which is an absolute marathon.”
Finally, Slade also spoke of his latest acquisition, Gabriel Tamaș, explaining what he hopes the Romanian international will bring to the Bluebirds’ squad this season.
“We just wanted some experienced cover along the back,” he added. “And I don’t think they come more experienced than 63 caps for your country that are ranked seventh in the world.
“He can play right-back, right centre-half, left centre-half and left-back – and he’s even played as a holding midfielder, so he is a useful, experienced acquisition.
“He’ll have to get up to speed a little bit. You don’t just throw him in there, that’s for sure. We’ll give him a few days and then of course we’ve got the international break. During that time, we may have an in-house game in which he can play a part.”