By Paul Jones
Mick McCarthy has told his Cardiff City players their away form is critical to any hopes of a promotion push in the Championship this season.
The Bluebirds boss takes his side to Blackpool on Saturday in their first away trip of the campaign, having been held to a 1-1 draw with Barnsley last week.
Last season, Cardiff managed to win 10 matches away from home and draw five – a return bettered only by Norwich City and Brentford, who both won promotion to the Premier League.
It was home form that cost the Bluebirds with their eight victories, the fewest of any club in the top 10.
“Our away form last year without the crowds was great,” said McCarthy.
“Let’s see if it is just as good with crowds in. We hope it is! I’ve always said everywhere I’ve been, if you get a point away from home then it is a point in your pocket.
“Don’t ever dismiss that because it is tough going away. Especially now they’ve put the crowds back in.”
ℹ️ @BlackpoolFC away info guide
Matchday tickets, code of conduct, stadium entrances and further details!
— Cardiff City FC (@CardiffCityFC) August 14, 2021
Blackpool, who won promotion to the Championship last season after five years away, also began the campaign with a draw, away to Bristol City.
They followed that up with a notable 3-0 win over Middlesbrough in midweek in the Carabao Cup and McCarthy is expecting a difficult assignment.
“They’ve come up with momentum. We all watched the Bristol City game and they were very competitive in that.
“Although they scored in the 93rd minute, they’d hit the post prior and looked strong. And then they played Middlesbrough on Tuesday night and absolutely bashed them, 3-0.
“They’ll be very confident and feeling very good about themselves ahead of their first home game. They play a good brand of football. They like to get it down and pass it at the back.
“We’re going there to try and win the game though. That’s all we can do. We go away and try and win the games. We don’t go away and sit back and take the point.”
McCarthy has reiterated the club’s stance over Ciaron Brown and said offers tabled for the defender so far this summer are “nowhere near” the Bluebirds’ valuation.
Middlesbrough, managed by former Cardiff boss Neil Warnock, are keen on Brown but McCarthy says there will be no mates’ rates for his old friend.
“Warny is not daft by the way! He is double cute! He has been around a lot longer than me.
“He sees Ciaron Brown as exactly what he did for us last year; left-sided centre-back, left-back and left wing-back.
“If he can get him for what he’s bidding then he’s got a very good player… so why the bloody hell should I sell him to Warny?! Or let him go there unless the recompense gives me the chance to replace him.
“If not, it’s not happening. I can’t be any straighter than that.
“There has been one other club interested in him, to my knowledge, because I’ve spoken to that club.
“Whether he has got any interest in going there if they do come in with a bid I don’t know. But the bids are nowhere near.
“I saw Atkinson went from Oxford to Bristol City and I know he signed a two or three-year deal, but he went for £1.3m. A left-sided centre-back.
“We are not looking at anything like that but they are going to have to bid more than they have to take him.”
Brown is currently out injured with an ankle problem.