By Paul Jones
There will be no raucous Cardiff City fan welcome for Harry Wilson tonight, but manager Neil Harris believes his team are now fully used to the sound of silence.
After a slow start to the season, Cardiff have picked up with a draw at Blackburn and victory at Preston and a win at home to Wilson’s club of last season – Bournemouth – will lift Cardiff to the fringes of the play-off places.
The Bluebirds lost their opening two home games – to Sheffield Wednesday and Reading – and not since the 2007-08 season have they lost their three opening league games at home.
It took them five games before they finally got a win under Dave Jones 13 years ago, but current manager Harris is hoping the 1-0 win at Preston on Sunday, allied to the transfer day deadline coup of capturing Wilson on loan from Liverpool, can make a difference.
Welsh international Wilson was given an hour long debut off the bench in Sunday’s 1-0 win at Preston and is now poised to start tonight as the Bluebirds look to kick-start their season at home.
“Home advantage has gone without the fan base there. It just becomes a level playing field with 22 footballers running around on it,” said Harris.
“Our away record in the last 12 months speaks for itself – it’s among the best in the country. But that doesn’t change the fact you want to win home games.
“Come the end of the season, if we’re in the top six and we’ve won more points away than at home, no one will bat an eyelid. However, we want to get back to winning ways at home and that starts with the next four days and the two home games we’ve got.”
Harris spent part of the international break studying clips of the two home defeats this season, and some of the games his side lost in the last campaign, to try to find a solution.
“Since we beat Leeds and we won at Preston earlier in the year, every team that has come to Cardiff City Stadium has paid us the utmost respect of playing a back five, or sticking 10 men behind the ball,” he added.
“We have to be better at breaking down teams. We have to have plan A, B and C and play at good tempo.
“When we are away from home we are happy to grind out results and have a clean-sheet mentality. We have to have that at home as well.”
Another major concern for Harris had been the loss of three full backs in recent week – Greg Cunningham, Joe Bennett and Jordi Osei-Tutu. None of them look like being available against an unbeaten Bournemouth side.
“We know Bournemouth’s ability and they’ve had a good start to the season. But we’ve got a point to prove – that we need to get the ball rolling at the Cardiff City Stadium,” added Harris.
Bournemouth boss Jason Tindall worked closely with Wilson last season in his former role as assistant manager and has praised the impact the striker had at the Vitality Stadium.
He said: “I felt Harry Wilson’s time here last year was a really productive one. He had a great season when he was on loan at Derby, scored a number of goals and did great for Derby that year.
“He came to the Premier League to us last year and was one of our top goalscorers. He scored a good amount of goals for someone that plays wide and in his position.
“One thing you get with Harry Wilson is someone that is very, very dangerous and does score goals and gets himself in goalscoring positions.
“He’s certainly a player that we’ve got to be aware of and a player that I enjoyed working with whilst he was here and someone that I’ve got a huge amount of respect for because of the professional that he is and the way he conducted himself every single day during his time at Bournemouth.”