By Haydn Evans
Cardiff City manager Steve Morison has commended the job England legend Wayne Rooney has done in bringing troubled Derby County back into the fight for Championship survival.
But Morison says Rams will be met with “the same attitude” of defiance when they set foot onto the Cardiff City Stadium pitch on Tuesday evening.
Having been handed a 21-point deduction due to financial difficulties, manager Rooney and his team are still eight points adrift of safety, despite having only suffered 12 defeats this season – less than any other team in the bottom half of the table
“If they hadn’t had a deduction, they’d be doing pretty well in the league, but we need to keep them there,” warned Morison.
“It will be amazing if they stayed up, a great achievement – as long as we don’t get drawn into it ourselves.”
Cardiff sit in 20th place in the Championship table, 13 points above the relegation zone and 15 points above Derby in 23rd. However, there are only two points between the Bluebirds and their Welsh rivals Swansea City in 17th.
Here's your updated #SkyBetChampionship table!#EFL pic.twitter.com/SvtjniH5WS
— Sky Bet Championship (@SkyBetChamp) February 26, 2022
Morison is clear Cardiff should be looking up the table rather than down.
“We are looking everywhere,” he added.
“If we win, we could go up four places, depending how Swansea do tonight. If we lose, Derby are three points closer to us.
“Barnsley are also on the charge, we need another little run on the back of two defeats.
“Look how quickly we turned things around. The games are coming thick and fast with five games, maybe more, before the international break. We need to win some.”
The Bluebirds come into the game after a spirited but ultimately unsuccessful performance against Fulham on Saturday. Despite the 1-0 loss, Morison praised his side’s endeavour.
“I was really proud of them. I was disappointed to concede from a set piece, but we gave a good account of ourselves.
“Ultimately, we played a really good team and came out with some credit even though we lost.”
Derby County boss Rooney explains huge ‘compliment’ over players’ contracts https://t.co/FQXDjXrWja
— Steve Nicholson (@SNicholsonDT) February 28, 2022
Cardiff were hit by illness when a stomach bug ripped through their squad before their game on the weekend, leaving Ryan Wintle, Jordan Hugill, Uche Ikpeazu, Alfie Doughty, Mark Harris and Rubin Colwill unavailable and Morison admits the sickness is still lingering around the squad.
“It’s a mixed bag. There’s some new ones and some guys are feeling slightly better. We will have to address that tomorrow.
“The illness hasn’t just come up on us this time, whereas it came out of nowhere on Friday. We will be in a slightly different place to where we were on Saturday.”
Whilst Morison has his concentration firmly on the match, he admitted he will be saying a prayer for Cardiff legend John Toshack.
The former Wales manager was hospitalised with Covid 19 in Spain yesterday.
“Our thoughts are with him and his family.” added Morison.
“He gave me my (Wales) debut against Luxembourg. He’s a great man, a hero for club and country. It’s a terrible situation and shows how Covid hasn’t gone away.”
“When I pray before the game tomorrow, I’ll say one for him as well.”