Low crowd was no ex­cuse for that dis­play by the Bluebirds

South Wales Echo - - SPORT -

IT’S been yet an­other event­ful few days for Cardiff City, with their low FA Cup gate be­ing the talk of Bri­tain, an­other player dis­ap­point­ingly de­part­ing, one sea­soned cam­paigner com­ing in – and a big Cham­pi­onship clash with Bris­tol City loom­ing.

Here is my take on the key is­sues... CARDIFF’S FA Cup de­feat to Ful­ham be­came some­thing of a na­tion­wide talk­ing point, not be­cause of the re­sult, more as a re­sult of the pal­try at­ten­dance on Sun­day morn­ing of barely 5,000.

Gary Lineker had a bit of a pop on TV, ask­ing it if it had been played be­hind closed doors. The for­mer Wales and Cardiff Blues rugby player Andy Powell heav­ily crit­i­cised Bluebirds fans on Twit­ter.

Cardiff City were in the pub­lic do­main, but not for the rea­sons we wanted.

Look, I will be hon­est and say I ex­pected a big­ger crowd. I turned on the TV my­self and was shocked by what I was watch­ing with the stands near empty.

I prob­a­bly ex­pected dou­ble that at­ten­dance, def­i­nitely if the game had been played on a Satur­day af­ter­noon.

But I guess it was what it was. TV sched­ules dic­tate things these days, it is the way foot­ball has gone.

The 11.30am kick-off, cou­pled with trans­port links at that time on a Sun­day morn­ing and the gen­eral feel of the club still not be­ing quite right for some fans, com­bined to make it the at­ten­dance we had.

Throw in the fact that it was Ful­ham, not the most glam­orous of op­po­si­tion, and lots of fac­tors were in play.

That said, it was still no ex­cuse for me to see such a lack­lus­tre per­for­mance from Neil Warnock’s side.

I’ve played in front of small crowds be­fore and know it can af­fect you as a player, but there were lots of fringe fig­ures be­ing handed an op­por­tu­nity to state their case for in­clu­sion against Bris­tol City this week­end.

To say they dis­ap­pointed un­der­state­ment.

Only Sol Bamba stood out for me, and he’s guar­an­teed his spot in the de­fence at Ash­ton Gate any how. If he could pro­vide the drive and com­mit­ment re­quired, why couldn’t oth­ers step up to the plate?

Warnock looked an­gry on the side­lines, ap­peared to get red­der and red­der as he watched events un­fold in front of him.

Cardiff got it wrong with and with­out the ball. With it they weren’t pa­tient enough, try­ing the de­fence­s­pli­titng pass af­ter two touches and in­vari­ably giv­ing it away.

With­out it they didn’t press as a team, cre­ated too many­gaps for Ful­ham to ex­ploit.

Ev­ery­thing con­sid­ered, a day to for­get. is an I can’t sit here a cou­ple of days on and say he had a great game, oth­er­wise peo­ple will think I’ve lost my mar­bles. He didn’t, would be the first to ad­mit it him­self, but we do need to af­ford Hal­ford a lit­tle time to set­tle into his new en­vi­ron­ment be­fore we can ex­pect to see the best of him. Hal­ford is one of those play­ers who can play in a va­ri­ety of po­si­tions, has had lots of clubs, but per­haps ver­sa­til­ity has worked

his against him.

Some­times you need a set­tled po­si­tion in or­der to be seen as a master of that role.

I’m not sure he can hold down a first choice cen­tral mid­field role and he won’t break into the cen­tre of de­fence if ev­ery­one is fit.

Nor is he the type of £10m player ex­pected to be the side’s play­maker.

There might be an open­ing at right­back if some­thing hap­pens to Lee Peltier, but it may just be we see Hal­ford con­tinue as a util­ity man and fill in here, there and ev­ery­where for the Bluebirds.

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