Feeney hopes his Cardiff switch was worth the wait

South Wales Echo - - SPORTS - CHRIS WATHAN Foot­ball Cor­re­spon­dent chris.wathan@waleson­line.co.uk

IT was a deal nine months in the mak­ing – and even then it went down to a ner­vous fi­nal few min­utes on dead­line day.

But Liam Feeney is con­fi­dent his long-time-com­ing Cardiff City move will prove worth the wait as he aims to be­come the lat­est Neil Warnock suc­cess story.

Wide­man Feeney was left hang­ing on the tele­phone on dead­line day, his loan switch from Black­burn Rovers still not for­mally com­pleted with less than 10 min­utes to go over the sum­mer win­dow.

The 31-year-old may have been for­given for think­ing that his hopes of ar­riv­ing at Cardiff City Sta­dium may have been dashed again hav­ing been the sub­ject of Blue­birds in­ter­est in the Jan­uary.

Yet, be­fore the FA’s fax ma­chines had been switched off, Feeney got the con­fir­ma­tion he needed to travel from Lan­cashire to Leck­with.

Now, as he pre­pares for a po­ten­tial home de­but against Sh­effield Wed­nes­day, Feeney is aim­ing to fol­low the kind of jour­ney taken by Ken­neth Zo­hore and Nathaniel Men­dez-Laing, at­tack­ers who have im­proved un­der the watch­ful eye of Warnock.

“The size of the club speaks for it­self, but I’m sure I’m not the only one to say the gaffer is a mas­sive draw here,” said Feeney of the at­trac­tion of the loan op­por­tu­nity of­fered by the Blue­birds. “It’s been in the pipe­line a cou­ple of times be­fore pre­vi­ously, so it’s pleas­ing to ac­tu­ally get here and get to work. It means a lot he wanted me to work for him and, hope­fully, I can do well for him and the club.

“I’ve been aware for a while he wanted me. The in­ter­est shown in Jan­uary was there and this win­dow was a bit dif­fer­ent and didn’t ac­tu­ally come through un­til right at the end, but I was pleased it fi­nally hap­pened.

“It was a bit too late to make the jour­ney down, so we did the pa­per­work up north, but it’s not a nice day; it’s an ex­cit­ing day for everyone else, but be­ing ac­tu­ally in­volved can be quite stress­ful.

“We got the call late in the day, I hardly had time to speak to any­one, we had to get the right things signed and make sure it got done, but once it was over the line I could get ex­cited about it.”

It’s not be­ing dis­re­spect­ful to Feeney to say late dead­line-day links to him didn’t get too many pulses rac­ing among Cardiff sup­port­ers.

After all, he had strug­gled to nail down a start­ing berth with Black­burn fol­low­ing their rel­e­ga­tion to League One, with Tony Mow­bray all but claim­ing he wasn’t a part of start­ing plans.

Yet Warnock knows what he wants and was con­vinced Feeney – and his 200 games at this level after start­ing out in non-league – would of­fer him some­thing, just as he could of­fer the golden touch he has shown oth­ers with tal­ent to bring to the fore.

Zo­hore was on the fringes and ready to be farmed out to Bel­gium be­fore Warnock got hold of him, while Men­dez-Laing has seized his chance since sign­ing on a Bos­man-free from Rochdale, named the Cham­pi­onship’s player of the month dur­ing Cardiff’s surge to the top of the ta­ble.

Warnock, a for­mer winger him­self, now has Feeney to work with.

“He seems to love his wide­men, he wants to en­cour­age and get the best out of them which is ex­cit­ing for me,” ad­mit­ted the man who has sec­ond-tier spells at Mill­wall, Bolton, Ip­swich as well as Black­burn be­fore sign­ing on in South Wales un­til Jan­uary 1.

“Everyone can see his en­thu­si­asm and love for the game, his en­cour­age­ment and man-man­age­ment is ex­cel­lent. I’ve been here a cou­ple of weeks and al­ready I feel ten feet tall.

“It’s ex­cit­ing to think it will be like a few months down the like and what per­for­mances he can bring out of me.

“His love of foot­ball and es­pe­cially for me the way he likes his wide­men and at­tack­ing play­ers to play is a big draw.

“At the same time, he’s men­tioned a few times his days as a winger and you know his de­mands – but it’s great be­cause you don’t want to be mol­ly­cod­dled, you know you have to per­form be­cause the squad is strong. It’s nice to have the con­fi­dence, but you know once you get in you have to re­pay it and per­form. That’s the chal­lenge.”

Feeney has made a good start, set­ting up Danny Ward for the equaliser at Ful­ham last weekend and com­ing off the bench in the de­feat to Pre­ston and now push­ing for a first start.

He added: “I want to im­prove and I think he can help. I know what I’m ca­pa­ble of and, with the right kind of guid­ance, a man­ager like him is go­ing to get it out of me.

“I’ve made an OK start, but there’s a lot more to come.”

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