AT FULL PELT
Cardiff defender Lee Peltier sets his sights high for next season
NEIL Warnock might be struggling for motivation right now, but fitagain Lee Peltier is adamant he is the right man to ensure Cardiff have plenty to keep them stimulated next term.
After his Bluebirds beat Brentford 2-1 earlier this month, Warnock admitted it was very difficult to get himself up for the challenge when he knew they were safe.
The Bluebirds have been safely entrenched in mid-table for some time now, with the threat of relegation having long passed.
The campaign can, however, be classed a success for Warnock as he inherited a team in October that were second from bottom.
Despite seeing the ship steadied by Warnock following Paul Trollope’s sacking, Bluebirds fans will be left wanting more, considering they finished eighth last season and in the 2013-14 campaign they were mixing it with the big boys in the Premier League.
Defender Peltier, who returned from a four-month ankle injury ahead of schedule in the 1-0 home win against Nottingham Forest on Easter Monday, believes those good times can return to the Welsh capital with their much-travelled manager at the helm.
“The gaffer has already spoken about how he wants to push for the play-offs next season,” said Peltier, speaking after showing girls from Clwb Caerdydd around Cardiff City Stadium as part of the Wickes Kits for Kids programme.
“He is the kind of guy who, when he sets his mind to something, achieves it, so I think we are in for a big season next year.
“We are lucky to have him in charge. You saw what he did with Rotherham last season (keeping them up) and he loves the Championship.
“What you see is what you get with him and his record speaks for itself. He has come out and said he prefers the Championship to the Premier League as it keeps him on his toes. The main aim next season is promotion. The gaffer has said that.
“I think he is going to bring in a few players and, hopefully, we can start looking up again.”
While Warnock is already gearing up for the fight next season, there are lingering concerns that midfielder Peter Whittingham’s long association with Cardiff could be coming to an end.
Having joined from Aston Villa in 2007, Whittingham is the Welsh club’s longest-serving player but his contract expires in the summer.
The 32-year-old has been offered a new deal, but it is a reduced one.
Warnock admitted that talks had effectively stalled over a ‘compromise contract’ necessary to bring the club in line with Financial Fair Play regulations.
However, Peltier, who joined Cardiff in January 2015, is confident the spine of the club will remain as they look to edge back towards the Premier League.
“Everyone knows what Peter means to Cardiff,” he said. “I am sure something will be resolved sooner rather than later. I think the club are just waiting to see what sort of budget they will be looking at next season.
“Peter has been a great servant to this club and he is still playing really well, even though he isn’t getting any younger!
“He loves it here and is settled, so I think it is just a case of thrashing out the final few details. There are a few players who are out of contract in the summer but the manager is sorting it out. I’m sure we will be ready to challenge next season.”
PLAUDITS: Lee Peltier and Neil Warnock have earned fans’ praise FULL PELT: Cardiff defender Lee Peltier is back in action. Inset, team-mate Peter Whittingham