PRESS | ‘We need to stand up to Cardiff’ – Carlos

PRESS | ‘We need to stand up to Cardiff’ – Carlos

It was all quite downbeat at today’s press conference until Ross Wallace bounces in, somewhat later than advertised, surveys the revamped media room and wonders if he might need “a wee high chair” to be visible over the new desk.

As well as lifting the atmosphere, Wallace – scorer of the match winner on Tuesday night – has also lifted his game at the right time to cement his position as number one pick while his squad rival George Boyd recovers from shoulder surgery.

As usual, the press probe Carlos about the here and now of injuries, to Boyd and others, but today there is an undercurrent that suggests queries on formations and fitness are as much about carrying momentum into the derby as they are about who will face Cardiff on Saturday.

For unless you have been in an isolation unit, or holidaying in the village of Miserden in Gloucestershire where the internet speed is lower than base camp at Mount Everest, you will be aware the first Steel City derby since 2012 is just over a week away.

It looms large. But let’s save that for next time.

 

Turnaround?

 

Positives soon arrived…

Last week we were in the bottom half of the table and social media griping was on an upward trend.

‘Carlos should be shown the door’.

‘Carlos still doesn’t know his best line-up’.

‘We should be in the top two’.

Then came Forest, and the first tentative strains of ‘Carlos Had a Dream’ from the Kop.

Then came Brentford. The same starting eleven, a very different game, three more points and a better atmosphere all round.

Roll of drums, we’re in the play-off places. Only just, you might say, but it’s a sign of progress.

In year one of Carlos’ reign we didn’t hit sixth place until January. Year two saw us flirt with sixth in mid-October, bouncing along either side of the line until firmly establishing ourselves from December.

So, to repeat: It is September and we are in the top six. But before we get too giddy, as Carlos never tires of reminding us, this is a marathon not a sprint and the prizes are handed out in May.

“At the end, the best teams will be up, and the worst teams will be down.”

 

Saturday

 

We know any Warnock team will be fired up to burst our bubble, but maybe we should take a leaf out of Carlos’ book when facing everyone’s favourite pantomime villain.

“I don’t play against coaches, I play against teams,” he says.

As if to illustrate CC’s point that the race is neither won nor lost in the first few weeks of the season, after storming away to five straight wins in August, the Bluebirds have dropped points so far in September.

Asked about his expectations of the trip to Wales, the Head Coach works hard not to say anything to get that vein on Colin’s forehead throbbing. He goes as far as saying he likes Warnock because “he is not milky.”

Wednesday will have to deal with Cardiff’s physicality

Wallace too is respectful of Saturday’s opponents while giving an honest critique of their playing style, “[They] play in your half, they’ll get the ball forward quickly… throw ins in the box, set pieces.

“We’re going to have to stand up to that… I don’t think [Warnock] hides the fact that’s the way he likes to play. We will have to defend our box well.”

Carlos also singles out the need to stand up to Cardiff’s playing style.

“They are a physical team, they are strong at set pieces… They put a lot of pressure on their opponents. This is why they are doing so well so far.”

Which starts you thinking of the best line up to deliver both the defensive strength and attacking potential to take Wednesday into the derby on a roll.

‘Light’ reading

In case we’d forgotten how Carlos feels about the impact of fixture congestion on his players, he reminds us today that he wrote a thesis about recovery times. Tactical periodisation. You remember?

The starting eleven who bagged six points from Forest and Brentford looked badly in need of a breather by the end of Tuesday evening. “A bit leggy” to use Wallace’s words. With Lee easing his way back after a lengthy absence, Fletcher protecting his knees, and others carrying knocks, it’s more than likely we’ll see some tactical periodisation in practice.

CC shrugs off the significance of his return from that ban, “If you believe one guy on the touchline can win games… Harry Potter can do that.”

A spell-binding performance to bring a point or three away from Leckwith Road would be very pleasing. Coming home with a spring in our step to face our next opponents would be even better.

If you’re looking for omens, last season’s one-all draw away gave us our first taste of the top six in 2016/17. Pudil scored.

.OWLS ALIVE circliar yeller SPACE

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Angela

Owls Alive
E-MAIL: admin@owlsalive.com
TWITTER: @OwlsAlive and @ABGalvin


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