Manager targets sustained points accumulation after Wigan win
Victory at the DW Stadium saw City extend their unbeaten run to five matches – a spell during which a resolute and reinvigorated defence has conceded just twice.
The Bluebirds’ improved defensive form has seen a return to action for David Marshall and Bruno Ecuele Manga – the latter of whom has featured in City’s last five since returning from Africa Cup of Nations duty, at Sheffield Wednesday.
“We rate him [Bruno] highly and his partnership with Sean Morrison is one that seems to be growing,” reflected Russell.
“Lee Peltier had a bit of a calf strain [at Wigan], although it’s no more than a grade one injury. He is 50-50 for Saturday. Fabio is probably nearest to a return from injury while we are hopeful Peltier will be back. We put Joe Ralls in there for his reliability tonight and a bit of know-how. He did a good job for the team.”
Match-winner Aron Gunnarsson is another who the Boss praised highly, the midfielder’s typically combative performance complemented by a fine virtuoso goal in the 19th minute on Tuesday evening.
Russell continued: “Gunnar is combative in there and was a shining light for us. He did a great job, sitting in there and making the right decisions.
"When the ball needed to be hooked on, he was there. The playing surface was difficult but he was outstanding. When he needs to get it down and make the right decisions, he does that.”
The Bluebirds are now up to 13th place in the Sky Bet Championship – and could climb up to ninth with victory over Wolves at Cardiff City Stadium on Saturday.
It’s form that the Manager is satisfied with after a difficult January – but he warned in his post-match media conference at the DW Stadium that there is still plenty of work to be done.
“I am positive by nature and when we were [only] six points clear [of the relegation zone] I was never overly concerned,” Russell admitted.
“We were satisfied with the result, of course, and the performance tonight. We feel we’ve played well over the last four or five matches and made some improvement. Not huge improvement, but consistently made gradual little steps forward. If we keep doing that then results will take care of themselves.
“Defensively, we’ve kept three clean sheets in four. We have been solid. We played on a difficult surface at Wigan, while it will be completely different at Cardiff City Stadium on Saturday.
Watch Russell's post-match media conference via the Official Cardiff City YouTube Channel below:
“We aim to keep the momentum going. We haven’t lost in five matches and our task is to make it six.”