Despite a disastrous start to the 2016-17 season, Cardiff still managed to finish 12th in last year’s Championship and Neil Warnock’s side look even stronger this time around. Will they be able to sneak a place in the top six?
Source – Cardiff City Stats (@CCFCStats) via Twitter
After a goalless draw with Birmingham on the opening day of the season, Cardiff picked up just seven points from their subsequent ten matches, a tally that resulted in the dismissal of manager Paul Trollope. The Bluebirds drafted in the divisive Neil Warnock who presided over a hugely popular 2-1 victory against neighbours Bristol City in his first game of charge.
The former Sheffield United and Leeds boss guided Cardiff to a top half finish, losing just twice at home in 2017. Their summer recruitment has looked impressive so far. They aren’t fancied for promotion this year with bookmakers pricing up the Welsh side anywhere between 9/1 and 12/1 for a return to the Premier League, whilst they are around half that price to finish in the top six.
Cardiff were never going to be one of the division’s fashionable sides under Warnock’s tutelage and their new additions aren’t all household names but they could be a real threat in the second tier next season. They kept three clean sheets in four at the end of the last campaign, with only promoted Newcastle breaching their well-drilled defence – and the Magpies have lost few key players this summer.
The Bluebirds are priced at around 10/11 for a top half finish and they should be able to lay down a decent challenge for the playoffs. There are a number of different markets available for Championship bettors, including outright winner, and the huge range of free bet no deposit bonuses in the UK makes backing the Bluebirds less of a risk to the bank account.
Source – Wales News (@Wales_News_) via Twitter
Warnock has added the impressive Nathaniel Mendez-Laing from Rochdale. The 25-year-old notched eight times in 39 appearances last season for the League One club and was a constant nuisance to opposition defences. He is joined by Danny Ward, Lee Camp, and Neil Etheridge. The club also shelled out £2.9million for Lee Tomlin, who makes the short journey from nearby Bristol.
The former Middlesbrough playmaker is a huge talent and has an eye for the spectacular but his attitude has often been called into question. Loic Damour will be an interesting addition to the midfield whilst Callum Paterson won’t be fit until September but is another exciting capture.
The signing of Lee Tomlin may have been much to the chagrin of Robins fans but it could prove significant in their quest for a top six finish. He will provide a number of assists for Danish hotshot Kenneth Zohore, who presided over his most prolific campaign last year. The 23-year-old scored 12 goals in 29 appearances for the Welsh outfit last season with 11 of those arriving this calendar year.
Cardiff’s price for promotion back to the Premier League has shortened over the last couple of weeks but Warnock is an old hand at this level and his side will be incredibly difficult to beat. He will have his side well-drilled and ready to compete in every single game this campaign and they should not be underestimated.