Bluebirds Fans Turn Out In Force For Boxing Day Trip To Face Brentford

Sol Bambahas been in great form despite that bust-up with Neil Warnock. Pic: Sky Sports.

Bluebirds Fans Turn Out In Force For Boxing Day Trip To Face Brentford

More than 1,500 Bluebirds fans will leave home at around 5am on Boxing Day to set off for Cardiff City’s Championship clash at Brentford (1pm).

Supporters coaches will set off early in the morning for the first of City’s two remaining fixtures before the New Year. They follow the match at Brentford with a trip to Sussex, where they take on  title-chasing Brighton at the Amex Stadium, on Friday, December 30 (7.45pm).

Manager Neil Warnock has pledged to make changes after Cardiff’s 4-3 home defeat against Barnsley, although that is their only loss in four matches.

Warnock was appalled by defensive errors in that game and one of those came when goalkeeper Ben Amos ran outside the penalty area and was caught out as Barnsley swept past him to score.

But the City manager also pointed out that the defensive mistakes were not all about defenders. He said that two of Barnsley’s goals came after Craig Noone and Junior Hoilett failed to do their jobs properly when the visitors had possession.

He would not say anything more about which changes he will make, but he could turn to experienced former Manchester City and Swansea keeper Brian Murphy, 33, in place of Ben Amos.

Another option is Ben Wilson, aged 24, but Irishman Murphy looks favourite.

Captain Sean Morrison and Bruno Manga will again link up at the heart of defence, particularly with Sol Bamba ruled out again by suspension.

Bamba was banned for two games after being sent off at Ipswich, while he then had an extra game added after being charged with violent conduct by true Football Association.

“We are delighted,” said Warnock. “He got one added game for the extra aggression when he came off, which he deserved.

“We will miss Bamba for the Brentford game. I thought it was a good FA hearing.

“As far as I am concerned that is water under the bridge now. Bamba and I have spoken, I can’t see it happening again.

“I said to the commissioner, I was hoping he could show me more aggression. He’s only been booked once this season, as a centre half.”

Bamba will be available for the trip to Brighton in Cardiff’s final match of 2016, which eases concerns for Warnock with Manga heading off to the Africa Cup of Nations in January.

The tournament is being held in Manga’s home country of Gabon and their first game is against Guinea Bassau on January.

Manga still looks likely to leave the Bluebirds during January, but City’s bid to find him a new club will be made more difficult with the big centre-half in Africa for most of the month.

Keiran Richardson and striker Marouane Chamakh will also be leaving, having signed contracts until the new year when Warnock brought them to Cardiff.

“I will speak to those two,” said Warnock. “It is important I get the right balance.

“I am not 100 per cent, but I think both lads understand. They are two I could get off the wage bill, so chances are, I will be releasing them.

“I feel a bit sorry for Chamakh, but at the time when I came in, I felt we needed an influx of players. I wasn’t aware of Emyr Huws or Declan John, as they were away with the Welsh squads.

“I didn’t think we had cover for Rickie Lambert, but then I was impressed with Kenneth Zohore in training so brought him into the team.

“Richardson and Chamakh have been good professionals, but we need to manipulate this squad and those two are easy as their contracts are up. They will both find clubs.”

Warnock wants four new recruits during the January transfer window, including a goalkeeper and a defender, while he says they are close to signing a striker.

“I’ve agreed to make one signing already, a young lad who I’ve been looking at over the last few months. I’m hoping from January 1 we’ll be signing him, but that’s not official yet,” he said.

“I won’t be naming him until then. It’s difficult with it being Wales, if they’re English you’ve got to get international clearance for them, then clearance from Wales. I just hope the people in those departments are Cardiff City fans.”

Warnock is focussed on Cardiff’s match at Brentford, who are in mid-table, nine  points off the play-offs. Cardiff, though, are only five points behind them, and know a win would ease fears of being dragged back into the relegation zone.

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