Neil Warnock Ready For Another Winner’s Tipple. . . And Promotion Number Eight

Aldi shopper Neil Warnock is aiming to toast three more points with a small shot of whisky when he returns from Brentford on Tuesday night.

The Cardiff City manager takes his team to London on the back of six straight Championship victories – exceeding even the five successive wins that propelled their campaign at the start of the season.

Warnock has claimed the likes of leaders Wolves – now just three points above the Bluebirds – and chasers Aston Villa and Fulham shop at Waitrose, compared with his visits to the cut price stores.

The analogy might be a little stretched given that Cardiff are probably more mid-range than bargain basement – Morrisons, maybe – but the point that Wolves’ and Villa’s spending far outstrips Cardiff’s is undeniable.

With his entry level players so far exceeding all expectations, the veteran of seven previous promotion campaigns would not have it any other way.

“We had to shop at the other end, but who’s to say Aldi is not as good as Waitrose?” says Warnock.

“I like going in Aldi, they’ve got a nice bottle of whisky in there.”

With only 10 matches to go, Cardiff are on their best run of the season just when it matters most. They last lost in the Championship way back on New Year’s Day, against QPR, and since then they have taken 26 points from a possible 30.

It was not meant to be like this. At the start of the season, Warnock’s side were 25/1 outsiders for promotion – considered less likely to win the Championship title than Norwich, Sheffield Wednesday, Reading, Hull and Sunderland – all sides currently in the bottom half of the table.

But the message from the manager has been consistent and it’s been repeated again before the trip to Griffin Park.

“I just tell my lads to enjoy it and keep enjoying it. There’s no pressure on them. We have already reached our target for the season (73 points), we wanted to make the play-offs, so anything above that is a bonus.

“”You can’t tell me we are under pressure compared to Wolves, Derby and Fulham.

Neil Warnock. Pic: Getty Images.

“What are we doing in second place with our wage bill and what’s gone on in the past? It’s a miracle.

“You just concentrate on yourselves because other teams are going to have problems.

“Your dressing room is the most important thing. I look back at my promotions and go back as far as Scarborough, Huddersfield and Plymouth Argyle, not just Sheffield United and QPR. They all had dressing rooms which were unbelievable and still get together after all these years and have reunions and things like that.

“I go to the reunions and they’re still the same lads with the same humour, determination and comradeship, and it’s like they’ve never been apart. That’s the special part for me and I see that in this group here.”

Warnock could be boosted by a return to full fitness of defender Sean Morrison and striker Gary Madine, who were both on the substitutes’ bench against Birmingham City last weekend.

Brentford, managed by Dean Smith, are currently just adrift of the play-off race back in 11th spot, having lost 1-0 to Millwall last weekend.

Warnock adds: “Smithy (Dean Smith) has done a great job there, I like him and think they’re a good club.

“They don’t change, whoever they’re playing against. They attack you, they’ve got good inter-movement, a good crowd down there and a good atmosphere.

“I’ve had a good few humdingers at Brentford, going back to play-off semi-finals with Huddersfield. I like the club, the only thing I don’t like is smelling the hot dogs as I walk through to the changing rooms — it always turns my stomach!”


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