MAS­TER NEIL IS IN NEED OF BIG BACK­ING

The Football League Paper - - CHRIS DUNLAVY -

NEIL Warnock reck­ons Cardiff will need “six or seven” sign­ings to com­pete in the Premier League. A cynic might sug­gest he is about 13 or 14 short.

On pa­per, the Blue­birds are ar­guably the weak­est team pro­moted to the top flight since Black­pool in 2010.

Even Warnock knows it. Speak­ing to the 69year-old last week, I started a ques­tion with ‘Look­ing at your squad, Neil…’

“I know what you’re go­ing to say,” he chuck­led. “And you’re right. We shouldn’t be up there. Not in a mil­lion years.”

Look at it this way. If Cardiff hadn’t won pro­mo­tion, would a Premier League side want to sign any of their play­ers? Cer­tainly not.

Imag­ine, too, that the man­agers of As­ton Villa, Ful­ham, Derby, and Mid­dles­brough were of­fered their pick of the Blue­birds’ squad for the play-offs. Who would be se­lected?

Sol Bamba, per­haps. Ju­nior Hoi­lett at a push. Yet Ken­neth Zo­hore, widely re­garded as Cardiff’s best player, would strug­gle to dis­lodge the likes of Matej Vy­dra, Alek­san­dar Mitro­vic or Patrick Bam­ford.

That is why Warnock is the undis­puted man­ager of the year, and why his achieve­ment is the Cham­pi­onship equiv­a­lent of Le­ices­ter win­ning the Premier League.

It is also why ma­jor funds – and far more than seven play­ers – are re­quired if Cardiff are to avoid em­u­lat­ing Derby as the worst club the top flight has seen.

SOLID: Sol Bamba

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