By Terry Phillips
Cardiff City’s own Bob Marley is focused on a Premier League mission – and manager Neil Harris is delighted with his German striker.
Robert Glatzel has scored two goals in two Championship matches off the bench and Harris has described him, “as good a finisher as anybody I have worked with or played with.”
Glatzel was named Robert after reggae legend Marley, who was a favourite with his father Ghermani, a refugee who travelled from Eritrea to Germany.
Young Robert grew up listening to Marley’s music – and dreaming of becoming a footballer.
Ghermani is a passionate football fan who has helped his son in every way possible during his playing career.
Glatzel’s mother, Sonja, wanted her son to get a job outside of football, but he says, “I had this dream” and he found the courage to stick with his sporting quest.
Glatzel played for a number of teams between the ages of 18 and 22 and was struggling financially, earning 250 Euros a month at 20.
His breakthrough came with Kaiserslautern, scoring 27 goals in 47 games for their reserves.
Last season Glatzel scored a German Cup hat-trick against Bayern Munich, although his team, Heidenheim, went down 5-4 with Polish hit-man Robert Lewandowski firing the winner.
Now, Glatzel is intent on helping Cardiff City in their bid to qualify for the Championship play-offs and return to the Premier League.
Manager Neil Harris is keen to help develop Glatzel into a leading Championship striker.
The striker signed by former manager Neil Warnock was happy to hear Harris’s compliments and said: “Those are nice words to hear. It gives you confidence.
“When we have shooting drills, when we are doing well, he says that to me. But if we’re not doing well, he tells us then, too!
“But he often tells me I am a good finisher, so it wasn’t surprising for me to hear it on the news.”
Harris, Millwall’s record goalscorer, is playing a major role in Glatzel’s development.
The forward from Bavaria is working closely with Harris, who regularly leads lessons on finishing after main training sessions.
“The gaffer has talked to me a lot,” added Glatzel. “It helps that he was a striker, because in training he always does something for the strikers to do some finishing at the end.
“Just little things, like when he is speaking about his experience playing in the Championship. It helps a lot.
“He is the first manager I’ve had who was a striker, so it’s good for me.”
Glatzel is Cardiff’s joint top scorer on seven goals this season and after scoring in wins against Leeds and Preston, he added: “It has been a near perfect restart. To score two goals is great for me.
“The gaffer spoke to me before both matches and explained he would be going with Pato (Callum Paterson) up front and I should try and make an impact off the bench.
“As a player, everyone wants to play all the minutes possible. I want to make an impact whenever I play.
“I try and do my best and play for the team. Getting the win is the most important thing. And if I can score, then great. We won two games and I feel we deserved both wins. The whole team is confident.”
Glatzel is comfortable playing under Harris, who has tweaked City’s playing style since taking charge.
The Bluebirds work to play more of a passing game through midfield at the right times and don’t rely as much on the long ball.
“The Championship is a physical league and it is about learning how the league functions. Understanding how the defenders here work and reading the differences in the game is vital.
“I’m happy and comfortable in Cardiff. There is still work to do. With more time, games and training, I hope to continue to progress.
“I feel as a team we’re being more creative with the ball now and creating more chances.
“It is a good feeling on the pitch with the team. We’re playing good football and we hope to continue to do so. There is still hard work to do.”
City will have six Championship matches remaining after the Charlton clash. They are sixth with a three point gap ahead to Preston in seventh.
Glatzel added: “We’re in a good position, but it is not going to be easy. We have a good depth in the squad and that is going to be important in the final games.
“We have to have the same mentality for each game as we’ve started back with. In this league, it is so competitive. It is going to be a tough game against Charlton.
“We have to keep up the momentum. We have a goal, and we want to achieve that.”
That goal is to be taking on Liverpool, Manchester United, Manchester City and others at Premier League level next season.
Cardiff’s remaining fixtures this season:
Tuesday v Charlton Atletic (home, 6pm)
Saturday v Bristol City (away, 3pm)
Tuesday, July 7 v Blackburn Rovers (7.45pm)
Saturday, July 11 v Fulham away, 3pm)
Tuesday, July 14 v Derby County (home, 7.45pm)
Saturday, July18 v Middlesbrough (away, 3pm)
Wednesday, July 22 v Hull City (home, kick-off time to be decided)