PLAYING CONNECTIONS: CITY & BOLTON
Club News22nd April
Ahead of Saturday’s tie at Cardiff City Stadium, we take a look at three players who have turned out for both the Bluebirds and Bolton in recent years.
After failing to break into Chelsea’s first team after representing their youth sides, Blake moved to Cardiff, his home-town club, and shortly after made his senior debut for the team against Bristol Rovers in March 1990. The following season, he became a fans favourite and established himself as a first team regular before scoring 11 goals the year later helping City win the Third Division. The Wales international carried his form into the 1993-94 campaign after netting 14 times in 20 games and attracting attention from Premier League outfit Sheffield United, where he eventually moved for £300,000 in February 1994.
The forward also spent time at Bolton Wanderers after costing £1.2 million in the January of 1995. Despite only managing one league goal for the Trotters that year and them subsequently being relegated from the Premier League, he netted 19 goals the following season to fire Bolton straight back up as Division One Champions. Upon their return to the top flight, Blake scored 12 times, his highest total in the Premier League, but this wasn’t enough to save Wanderers from another relegation and he left at the end of the campaign for £4.25 million, joining Blackburn Rovers.
Helguson enjoyed a successful year at Cardiff City during the 2012-13 season. He got off to a flying start, scoring in a pre-season friendly against Bournemouth, before netting in the League Cup against Northampton in August. Before the month was out, the Iceland international also scored his first league goal for the club against Bristol City. In the following months, the former Watford man bagged a brace against Ipswich, keeping the Bluebirds top, collected a goal at home to Hull and managed to find the net at the likes of Nottingham Forest and Charlton. After helping the Club gain promotion with his 38 appearances for City that season, accompanied by eight goals, Heiðar retired from professional football following a 20-year career.
The much-travelled attacker signed with the Trotters for an undisclosed fee from Fulham in the summer of 2007. He made his debut on the first day of the campaign against Newcastle and scored his opening goal for the Club just four days later upon a return to Craven Cottage. An injury-stricken season saw Helguson face a spell on the sidelines but his return in January was much welcomed following Bolton’s recent sale of Nicolas Anelka to Chelsea. He certainly had the desired effect and scored his first goal since injury just four days after his comeback, contributing to a 2-0 victory over Reading.
Mason enjoyed a total of 97 appearances over a five-year spell for the Bluebirds. After signing in the summer of 2011, he had to wait until October for his first goal but then subsequently netted just three days after in the League Cup tie against Burnley. Having helped City go on to reach the Carling Cup final that year, Mason scored the first goal against Liverpool at Wembley before being substituted in extra time. Mason's later achievements at Cardiff saw him score six goals in the 2012-13 season, helping the club gain promotion to the Premier League, and playing a large part in Russell Slade's first full season in charge after being handed the number 10 shirt and starting the opening 17 games.
While at City, Mason was loaned out to Bolton Wanderers on three different occasions. He initially put pen to paper at the end of November 2013, appearing just three days later against Middlesbrough. His first start and goal for the club came the following week at the Reebok Stadium against Doncaster, contributing to a 3-0 win. After a successful few months on loan, Mason rejoined Bolton in February 2014 and again for the start of the following season. His most notable moment in white came in September that year against Rotherham where he bagged a second half hat-trick, the first to be scored by a Wanderers player in a competitive match since 2002.