Gaffer looking for further improvement at Hillsborough
Cardiff City manager Russell Slade reflected on a busy transfer deadline day before targeting success in the weekend’s Sky Bet Championship visit to Sheffield Wednesday.
The Bluebirds made three signings on Monday before the window shut, with striker Eoin Doyle arriving from Chesterfield, Matty Kennedy joining from Everton and Conor McAleny also coming from the Toffees on loan until the end of the season.
“It turned out to be a late night, a very busy last day for us,” Russell said. “We were delighted that we got two of our young boys [Tommy O’Sullivan & Danny Johnson] out playing in the Football League, and also that we were able to get the duo from Everton and Doyle from Chesterfield.
"What Doyle has proved he can bring is goals, there’s no doubt about that; he has twenty-five of them this season, albeit at a level beneath, but I think he’s worked exceptionally hard to deserve an opportunity to work at a higher level. He brings an incredible enthusiasm and determination, as well as that goal threat, so we’re looking forward to working with him.
“He’s played in a couple of roles at Chesterfield; he’s played as the lone striker, and he can do that because of his level of energy, but he’s also played off someone as well, which is good because it means that he has a level of flexibility and adaptability. He’s very hungry to be successful; he’s scored all sorts of goals from different positions, and that’s why we had to buy him. He looks to be very strong when he has a sight of goal.
“It was good to see three fresh faces - Eoin, Conor and Matty - wanting to come in and do well. Brentford wanted to come in and take Conor McAleny again, so that says everything – the fact they wanted the boy back. He’s made a big impression with his teammates and the coaching staff here and at Everton. The three of them are in the squad for Sheffield Wednesday this weekend, so there’s a possibility they’ll go straight in.
"The great thing about Conor is that he can play on the left or the right, or in the number ten role behind the striker. He’s the different type of striker that I felt we needed to bring into this Football Club, especially with Joe Mason out for the moment. These boys want to be successful."
The Gaffer also gave his latest injury update, with both goalkeeper David Marshall and defender Bruno Ecuele Manga nearing a first-team return.
“David Marshall has been in light training, but he will still remain a doubt for Saturday. Bruno has had time now to reacclimatise. It was a long week for him last week, only getting his first light session in on the Friday, but he’s had a week now, which has done him the world of good.”
City travel to a Sheffield Wednesday side who are tenth in the Championship on Saturday, and Russell outlined the challenge that the Owls’ famous Hillsborough stadium will provide.
“We all want that result, and we want to put our form right,” he said. “In terms of numbers, our possession stats were good last week, certainly better than we’ve done in previous weeks. We were relatively successful with that against a good side in Derby.
“If you’re asking if I’ve got my best eleven yet, or the best style to suit my group at the moment, then the answer is no, not yet, but that’s understandable because we’re in a period of transition. You can’t get away from that, that’s fact.
“I think that the players that we brought in during the window suggest that we will employ a more possession-based game. Conor McAleny is very technically good, and needs to have the ball at his feet. He sees a pass and a shot very quickly, so if you’re going to bring somebody into the Football Club who’s like that, then you’ve got to get him the ball.”