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Connor Wickham Bursts Blackpool’s Sinking Balloon . . . And Pays His Dues To Cardiff City

By Gareth James

Sabri Lamouchi exhaled a sigh of relief over Connor Wickham’s timely pay back to Cardiff City.

The Bluebirds boss insisted had apologised after a social media video emerged of him apparently inhaling ‘laughing gas’ in the wake of the club’s derby defeat to Swansea last weekend.

Wickham made headlines for all the right reasons as Cardiff thrashed Championship relegation rivals Blackpool 3-1 at Bloomfield Road.

Lamouchi described the striker’s actions as “stupid” but named the former Sheffield Wednesday and Ipswich frontman in his starting line-up, and Wickham responded by netting his first goal for the club at the sixth attempt.

He gained further credit in the visitors’ blistering first-half performance by playing major parts in goals for team-mates Sory Kaba and skipper Joe Ralls, with Josh Bowler’s reply coming too late for Blackpool.

Cardiff’s first win in four lifted them up to 19th and made painful viewing for their former boss Mick McCarthy, whose Blackpool side lie seven points from safety.

“I am happy for Connor,” said Lamouchi.

“That’s it. I don’t want to go over the stupid thing he has done. He is a professional, he should be professional.

“He apologised to the club, the fans, the players, to me. We don’t have a lot of options. I prefer to focus on the football situation.

“When I came here two months ago the situation was critical. It is still critical because we have a lot of games to play. We are not safe, we know that.

“To be safe we need a lot of ingredients. I am so happy for this massive result but I am not happy with the way we played.

“But I saw determination and a desire to fight. The last game at home [against Swansea] the scenario was cruel for me, my players and the club.

“But the players will not give up. They want to save the club because we deserve to play in the Championship. We were clinical on the few occasions we had to score.”

Wickham ended his wait for a first Cardiff goal after 21 minutes. Marlon Romeo delivered a perfect right-wing cross and the centre-forward headed in at the far post.

Seasiders goalkeeper Chris Maxwell was at full strength to keep out Cedric Kipre’s low drive and the latter had another effort blocked by James Husband.

Maxwell then denied Jaden Philogene as the Welsh side looked to press home their advantage, and it was no surprise when they doubled their advantage after 37 minutes.

Wickham’s ball in from the right was only headed into the air by Husband, and as Maxwell came out to intervene, Kaba nipped in for his eighth goal of the campaign and fourth in five games.

City’s third quickly followed. This time Wickham crossed from the right with the ball finding its way through to Ralls.

The Cardiff captain had not scored since February 2022 and there were jubilant celebrations when his low shot beat Maxwell.

Cardiff had not managed to score three since beating Wigan 3-1 last October, and for much of the second half the visitors coasted towards a much-needed three points.

However, when Bowler pulled a goal back with 15 minutes remaining, Cardiff nerves were finally tested.

Ryan Allsop reacted well to beat away Callum Connolly’s long-range attempt as the Seasiders stepped up their bid for an unlikely comeback, but Cardiff saw out the rest of the contest.

Blackpool’s former Cardiff manager Mick McCarthy said: “We started well, we were bright, we were on the front foot.

“We created some chances but lo and behold we conceded a goal. Conceding three goals in the first half, I’m not sure how many times we have scored four, so it almost put the game to bed before half-time.

“At half-time I said I was going to leave them all on, so they needed to get their fingers out and do better because I picked that side to start with.

“They didn’t lack heart but where we are in the league, once we concede a goal, it knocks confidence.

“In the second half we created a couple of chances and scored a goal, but it is not enough.

“When I came in, we had a look at all the goals we had conceded and there was one from every aspect of play, and we are still managing to concede them.

“It was looking grim when I came in, and losing 3-1 at home to our relegation rivals has not made it look any better.”

Read more about Sabri Lamouchi & Connor Wickham

Sabri Lamouchi Tells Connor Wickham It’s Time To Inhale Three Points Off Mick McCarthy


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