Neil Warnock wants his Cardiff City players to bridge the gap between high-flying West Brom and his team this week so he can put his feet up for the next fortnight.
Cardiff – who have confirmed they are to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport after being told by FIFA to pay the first £5.3m of the Emiliano Sala transfer – host QPR tonight.
The visitors are one of Warnock’s many former clubs and it’s a hurdle he wants to clear before the manager then prepares his team for The Hawthorns – arguably their biggest assignment so far this season – at the weekend.
After that, it will be another rest period with the international break.
“We’ve gone six games undefeated now, and when you want to go somewhere in this division you have to start on a run like that,” said Warnock.
“It’s a long season, we’ve had some difficult games, and now we’ve got two more until we get a fortnight off.”
You have to go back to 18 August and the 3-0 defeat at Reading for the last time Warnock’s men lost in the Championship and they are only seven points off the top despite being in 13th place after last weekend’s 2-2 draw at Hull.
Striker Robert Glatzel got on the score sheet once again in that game and Warnock is pinning his hopes on the German hitting the back of the net even more frequently as he comes to terms with English football.
Off the field, Cardiff claim the FIFA verdict was reached “without considering the full documentation presented by Cardiff City FC to FIFA”.
The Bluebirds claimed the agreement to pay Nantes a £15million fee was not legally binding because conditions insisted upon by Nantes were not fulfilled.
Cardiff’s statement read: “Cardiff City FC is extremely disappointed at the decision of the Players’ Status Committee to award against the club.
“It would appear the committee has reached its conclusion on a narrow aspect of the overall dispute, without considering the full documentation presented by Cardiff City FC to FIFA.
“Nevertheless there remains clear evidence that the transfer agreement was never completed in accordance with multiple contractual requirements which were requested by Nantes, thereby rendering it null and void.
“We shall be appealing to CAS in order to seek a decision which considers all of the relevant contractual information and provides clarity on the full legal situation between our two clubs.
“This is a complex matter, which includes ongoing civil and criminal considerations both in the UK and abroad, which will likely have an impact on the validity of the transfer.
“It is therefore vital that a comprehensive judgement is reached following a full assessment and review of the facts.”
The fee Cardiff have been ordered to pay constitutes a first instalment of the overall transfer fee.
Nantes president Waldemar Kita told L’Equipe in May he did not want to receive money for Sala.
“The truth is, I don’t even want that money, and I may never get it,” he said.
“I don’t want to make money on someone who died tragically. I’m not interested in that.”
When asked why he had therefore not brought the issue to a halt, Kita replied: “I am not involved at all in the case. The lawyers are in charge of it.”
Cardiff City (probable): Smithies, Bennett, Flint, Peltier, Morrison, Bacuna, Ralls, Pack, Mendez-Laing, G Whyte, R Glatzel.