Neil Warnock. Pic: Getty Images.
Neil Warnock has scouting mission lined up – and he won’t even have to leave Cardiff.
Two players he has been tracking, Scottish strikers Matthew Knox and Danny Mullen, are likely to be in Livingston’s team for the Bluebirds friendly at Cardiff City Stadium on Friday, July 28 (7pm).
City manager Warnock could have opted for Spanish or Italian opposition, but preferred Livington because they will play in a British style. He can also take a long, hard look at Knox and Mullen.
They were both due to spend a trial spell with Cardiff and Warnock is certainly keen to see more of them.
Knox, 17, was the subject of two failed bids of up to £100,000 from Rangers and has also enjoyed spells on trial at Manchester United.
Mark Warburton was Rangers manager when those transfer offers were made and he is now in charge at Nottingham Forest. Cardiff’s Championship rivals are watching the situation carefully along with a number of other clubs in the top two divisions.
Knox became the youngest player in Livi’s history when he made his debut in the 4-1 win over St Mirren on Boxing Day in 2015 – four days after his 16th birthday.
He made 12 appearances last season when Livingston secured promotion back to the Scottish Championship, winning the League One title.
Mullen came through the Livingston youth ranks and made his debut for the first-team in 2012 at the age of 17.
The 22-year-old scored 17 goals last season during the club’s title-winning campaign.
Knox, hailed as Scotland Wonderkid by some journalists, has had three trial spells at Manchester United, working with Academy boss Nicky Butt.
“I sat directly across from Michael Carrick during one lunchtime,” says Knox.
“It’s surreal to be sitting listening to banter between the likes of Paul Pogba and Wayne Rooney and joining all of these superstars queueing up for lunch. It was incredible.
“Jose Mourinho would be sitting next to his coaches, but he’d speak a different language when he was talking to them so I didn’t understand a word.
“They were all great with me, they would take time to say hello and ask how I was doing.”
Knox, who has also trained with Liverpool, insists he is not letting speculation about his future get to him, saying: “When I used to see my name in the newspapers with stories about maybe getting a move to a huge club then it would play on my mind.
“I don’t allow it to bother me now and really I don’t think about it. I have to keep on doing what I have been and see where that takes me.
“It’s about trying to play regularly for Livingston, try to score a few goals and play well. Everything will follow on from that.
Knox, who grew up in Prestonpans, East Lothian, signed schoolboy forms for Livingston at the age of 11.
Cardiff’s pre-season home fixture against Livingston replaces the proposed match against Portsmouth which was cancelled when the clubs were drawn against each other in the Carabao Cup.
Livingston are newly promoted to the Championship in Scotland, having won the League One title in 2016-17.
The match against Livingston is Cardiff’s final pre-season match before their start their Championship campaign at Burton Albion the following weekend.
Cardiff City’s full pre-season fixtures
JulyFriday 14: Taff’s Well (won 1-0, Rhiw Ddar)
Monday 17: AFC Tavistock (away 7pm, Langsford Park)
Wednesday 19: Bodmin Town (away 7pm, Priory Park)
Thursday 20: Under-23 v AFC St. Austell (away 7pm, Poltair Park)
Friday 21: Plymouth Argyle FC (away 7pm, Home Park)
Saturday 22: Under-23 Bideford AFC (away 2pm, The Sports Ground)
Tuesday 25: Shrewsbury Town (away 7pm, The Greenhous Meadow)
Wednesday 26: under-23 v Hereford United (away, 7.45pm, Edgar Street)
Friday 28: Livingston FC (home, 7pm, Cardiff City Stadium)
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