New man Ma­son keen to leave bench be­hind

The Football League Paper - - NEWS - By Nick Lough

JOE MA­SON in­sists he has taken a step for­ward, rather than back, af­ter leav­ing pro­mo­tion-hunt­ing Cardiff for Wolves and is hop­ing to break free of his cameo role and be­come one of the lead­ing men for his new club.

De­spite nine points and five places sep­a­rat­ing the two teams prior to this week­end’s fix­tures, the 24-yearold for­ward left South Wales for Mo­lineux dur­ing the fi­nal stages of the Jan­uary trans­fer win­dow, sign­ing a three-and-a-half-year deal.

The Devon-born player is con­fi­dent he has moved up in the world by sign­ing for the Mid­lands club.

That’s de­spite ad­mit­ting he found it hard to leave be­hind what had be­come his adopted home, hav­ing been with the Blue­birds since his 2011 move from Ply­mouth. “It was a lit­tle bit dif­fi­cult to leave in the end,” said Ma­son, who fea­tured in 23 of Cardiff’s 28 Cham­pi­onship games this sea­son. “When you have been some­where for so long, it be­comes like home and you get that con­nec­tion with the club, the fans and the city, but I felt in the end it was time for a change.

“I came up to the club and spoke to a lot of the lads and the gaffer at the train­ing ground and had a look around at the fa­cil­i­ties. Im­me­di­ately, it felt like the right place for me to be and to progress in my ca­reer. “I still feel this is a step-up for me, irre- spec­tive of the league po­si­tions. Wolves are a mas­sive club with a great sta­dium and a huge fan base, and I’m hop­ing to make them proud and to do my­self jus­tice too.


“I’ve come a long way since my Ply­mouth days, and just like mov­ing to Cardiff this is an­other big step in my ca­reer. Hope­fully, I can make it a good one.”

From Paul Mariner to Malky Mackay, and Ole Gun­nar Sol­sk­jaer to Neil Len­non, Ma­son has en­joyed work­ing with a num­ber of man­agers, all with their own unique per­son­al­i­ties.

Play­ing for new boss Kenny Jack­ett is an­other part of the for­mer Re­pub­lic of Ire­land U21 star’s learn­ing curve.

“I’ve en­joyed work­ing with Kenny so far,” he says. “A lot of man­agers have their own style, but he’s dif­fer­ent to all of the oth­ers I’ve had.

“He’s very en­cour­ag­ing to his play­ers and has great pos­i­tiv­ity. He likes to play the game the right way, which is a big thing for me as we have a lot of tal­ented play­ers here who can get the ball down and do great things with it.”

And, hav­ing been re­stricted to the sub­sti­tutes’ bench for al­most half of his games so far in a Wolves shirt, de­spite notch­ing two in his first two, Ma­son is hop­ing his Premier League pedi­gree can play its part in earn­ing him a reg­u­lar place in the start­ing XI.

“I cer­tainly hope my per­for­mances on the pitch war­rant a reg­u­lar spot soon,” he said.

“There are fewer than ten games to go now and I’m hop­ing to fin­ish the sea­son on a high note. So far, I think I’ve made a good im­pact as a sub­sti­tute, but I’m here to start games and, hope­fully, I can do that along­side get­ting some goals for the team.

“Hav­ing played in the Premier League I don’t think there are many more dif­fi­cult tasks you can face in foot­ball.

“The Cham­pi­onship is very dif­fer­ent to the Prem though. You got more time on the ball, whereas here it’s pretty hec­tic and non­stop chas­ing.

“But I think hav­ing faced some of the coun­try’s best de­fend­ers stands me in good stead to face any­one at this level.”

PIC­TURES: Ac­tion Im­ages

GOALDEN BOY: Joe Ma­son cel­e­brates scor­ing for Wolves. In­set: In the colours of Cardiff City, left, and Ply­mouth

EN­COUR­AG­ING: Kenny Jack­ett

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