NOW I’M HUNGRY TO MAKE WOLVES IMPACT
New man Mason keen to leave bench behind
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.”
GOALDEN BOY: Joe Mason celebrates scoring for Wolves. Inset: In the colours of Cardiff City, left, and Plymouth
ENCOURAGING: Kenny Jackett