FIVE-POINT PLAN

Australian Four Four Two - - PREMIER LEAGUE -

1 DON’T PANIC

It’s un­likely Warnock will be sacked if Cardiff start badly – un­likely, but not im­pos­si­ble. Most of their play­ers are new to this league, and after three winnable matches Cardiff’s Septem­ber and Oc­to­ber sched­ule fea­tures six of last sea­son’s top seven. They were wise to con­duct sum­mer busi­ness early. But Crys­tal Palace just fin­ished 11th hav­ing been win­less, goal­less and point­less after seven games, so pa­tience is key.

2 KEEP SHUFFLING THE P ACK

Ro­ta­tion worked last year, with 30 dif­fer­ent play­ers start­ing games and only three un­changed line-ups named. The ta­lent in Cardiff’s squad is evenly spread, so pick­ing an XI to suit the oc­ca­sion should still be an op­tion. The ex­cep­tion is in goal: Neil Etheridge or Smithies? Warnock must choose.

3 MAIN­TAIN DIS­CI­PLINE

Al­though Cardiff weren’t in the ref­er­ees’ bad books that of­ten, they did make the sec­ond-most fouls in the Cham­pi­onship. It comes with ced­ing pos­ses­sion – they were also the most suc­cess­ful tack­lers – but they should be wary of giv­ing free-kick op­por­tu­ni­ties to the Pre­mier League’s spe­cial­ists. And speak­ing of set-pieces...

4 BRING DEAD BALLS TO LIFE

Warnock’s play­ers led the way for set-piece goals. In­deed, 11 league strikes from de­fend­ers Bamba and Sean Mor­ri­son (left) out­stripped the top scorer – Cal­lum Pater­son, who ar­rived in­jured, started at full-back, moved to the wing and ended up a goalscor­ing cen­tral mid­fielder. He’s one to watch.

5 EN­JOY IT

Cardiff’s 2013-14 wasn’t es­pe­cially fun for any­one as­so­ci­ated with the club. This sea­son, their man­ager is de­ter­mined “to go into the Pre­mier League en­joy­ing ev­ery minute of it”. And why not? There’s no pres­sure, but they’re ca­pa­ble of in­flict­ing shocks and have ex­cit­ing play­ers such as Pater­son, Ken­neth Zo­hore, the re­vi­talised Ju­nior Hoi­lett and now Reid, signed from ri­vals Bris­tol City after scor­ing or as­sist­ing 26 league goals in his first sea­son play­ing as a striker. Plus, Warnock might guide a team to Pre­mier League safety for the first time at the age of 69. Nice.

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