Cardiff City Preview (A) - October 23
WATFORD head to south Wales this Tuesday looking to build on Saturday`s 1-0 victory over Peterborough United against Watford Mk.II, sorry, Cardiff City.
Without wishing to harp on like a bitter Hornet, as a club as well as supporters we`ve moved on, but Malky Mackay clearly hasn`t as he looks to fill his Cardiff City squad with as many ex-yellows as possible.
After bringing Don Cowie and Andrew Taylor to the Cardiff City Stadium last term, as well as trying to snare Marvin Sordell in January, the Scot has added to his Watford-recruitment drive this season by capturing Heidar Helguson and Tommy Smith. It is particularly galling, for me at least, to see two modern-day Watford icons wearing the red of Cardiff City.
`The red of Cardiff City` - there`s a statement which will take some getting used to. In case you`ve had your head buried under a rock this summer, in exchange for a transfer war-chest, Cardiff City have had to part with their identity, switching their home colours to red and away to blue, as well as changing their crest. Rightfully, a large chunk of the club`s support are not happy about the change of colour - who would be?
On the pitch at least, things have started well with the Bluebirds second to Leicester City on goal difference alone. Twenty-two points from 11 games is an excellent return, and it spite of off-field controversy, the club look to finally be maintaining a serious promotion push.
It`s not just ex-Watford players that Mackay has gone big on, spending just short of £10m on 11 new faces. The most expensive of those additions being former Crewe Alexandra, Bristol City and West Ham United striker, Nicky Maynard.
The 25 year-old spent just five months of last season at the Boleyn Ground after making the switch to east London in the January Transfer Window.
As with several of Sam Allardyce`s signings last term, the striker was deemed surplus to requirements upon Premier League promotion and joined the Cardiff revolution for £2.5m.
With 79 league strikes in 175 starts for his four clubs, that could prove the price of promotion if the Winsford-born forward helps seal promotion for Mackay`s men.
Weighing in at £2m, former Watford loanee Jordon Mutch brings an excellent range of passing, terrific vision and intelligence to Cardiff`s midfield.
Prised away from former club Birmingham City with the Blues in need of funds, Mutch has been in-and-out of the starting XI, making six appearances to date.
The 20 year-old certainly has time on his side though, and lists Doncaster Rovers and Hereford United (both loan) as well as Derby County amongst his former clubs.
South Korean midfielder Kim Bo-Kyung also set the Bluebirds back £2m as he joined from J-League outfit Cerezo Osaka, a club which list Manchester United attacker Shinji Kagawa amongst their exports.
If the 23 year-old, who can play out wide or as a attacking midfielder, does even a fraction as well as Kagawa did for Borussia Dortmund, Cardiff will have invested wisely.
Mackay has used the 14-cap South Korean international sparingly so far, with just the four substitute appearances to his name.
Mackay will be without the services of the aforementioned Maynard, who is out for six to nine months having torn the anterior cruciate ligament in his knee. Mackay opted to leave Craig Bellamy and Mutch out his matchday 18 altogether for the Nottingham Forest defeat on Saturday and could change the side after an abject showing.
Gianfranco Zola is without John Eustace (back), Geoffrey Mujangi Bia (strain), Prince Buaben (thigh), Neuton (ankle) and potentially Nyron Nosworthy (muscle) and Joel Ekstand (ankle).
Cardiff City: Marshall; McNaughton, Hudson (c), Connolly, Taylor; Whittingham, Gunarsson; Smith, Cowie, Conway; Helguson.
Watford: Almunia (c); Doyley, Hall, Hoban; Cassetti, Chalobah, Hogg, Abdi, Pudil; Forestieri & Deeney.
Referee: Mr M Heywood.