Danger­ous and wounded Cardiff can still recover, says Har­ris

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Sport - By Alex Bywater

Neil Har­ris has de­scribed his Cardiff City team as a “danger­ous and wounded an­i­mal” as they pre­pare to face Ful­ham, try­ing to over­turn a 2-0 first-leg deficit in their Cham­pi­onship play-off semi-fi­nal.

Ful­ham played Cardiff off the park in Mon­day’s first leg at the Cardiff City Sta­dium, but still Har­ris re­mains pos­i­tive about tonight.

“I have picked my­self up and my play­ers, too. We are be­ing writ­ten off and ques­tioned. We can’t wait to re­spond and we will re­spond,” he said. “I have spo­ken to the play­ers and re­in­forced pos­i­tive mes­sages. We have won six of our last eight away games. No Cham­pi­onship team has won more away points than us since I’ve taken charge. We have the abil­ity. It’s not go­ing to be easy and we are up against a good side, but we’re up for the chal­lenge.

“I have tried to take the pres­sure off my play­ers and put it on Ful­ham. We are the big­gest un­der­dog be­cause we have the most to do, but do we fear it? No. We want to pro­vide a mir­a­cle. We can be a danger­ous and wounded an­i­mal and we have to show our re­silience now.”

All the signs point to Ful­ham mak­ing it to Wem­b­ley for Tues­day’s play-off fi­nal. No side have come from two goals down in a Cham­pi­onship play-off and Cardiff have won only one of their past 12 meet­ings with Ful­ham.

Har­ris will make a last-minute call on his team with such a short turn­around be­tween the two legs and mer­cu­rial for­ward Lee Tom­lin is his big­gest con­cern as he bat­tles knee and hip is­sues.

Striker Robert Glatzel missed two big chances at the start of the first leg and Har­ris knows his team can­not af­ford such profli­gacy again.

He has drawn in­spi­ra­tion from his team’s re­vival to draw 3-3 at Leeds and other im­pres­sive away trips, but what should worry Har­ris is Ful­ham ap­pear to have the mea­sure of Cardiff. They also beat them 2-0 at Craven Cot­tage on July 10.

“Records are there to be bro­ken in foot­ball,” said Har­ris. “In my two play-offs as a man­ager, I have been be­hind and I take so­lace from that fact. My teams have re­sponded in dif­fi­cult cir­cum­stances.

“It’s not ideal to be 2-0 down, but I have faith in my play­ers to de­liver. The first goal will be vi­tal in the tie, but we don’t have to chase the game from the first whis­tle.”

Ful­ham were with­out Cham­pi­onship top scorer Alek­san­dar Mitro­vic for the first leg and man­ager Scott Parker was un­will­ing to con­firm whether he would be fit to re­turn de­spite train­ing yes­ter­day.

“There was a small is­sue and I had to make a call on Mon­day. He has trained and we will see where we are,” Parker said.

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