Weekly review 15/7/2018

Last updated : 20 July 2018 By Michael Morris

Paul Evans takes a look at the past week.

Easy to know where to start this week, because there’s actually some football to talk about!

Just like they did last year, Cardiff City kicked off their pre season programme at Taffs Well. It was 1-0 thanks to an early Anthony Pilkington goal twelve months ago and this time City bettered that by coming out on top 3-0.

These matches are as much PR exercises as anything I suppose, because they represent the sort of meet the players opportunity that supporters would not tend to get at more competitive affairs.

Last year, the amount of first teamers that supporters were able to meet and greet was somewhat restricted because many of them were out on the pitch performing, but, this time, it was different because the only players with first team experience involved were Lee Camp (who, at fourth in the goalkeeping pecking order, will be surely be playing elsewhere by the time the transfer window closes), Rhys Healey, Mark Harris and Cameron Coxe – the last three named must be candidates to be loaned out as well.

This change in policy had been signposted by Neil Warnock during one of his meet the fans evenings last week where he explained that this long, hot summer with so little rain meant that the pitch at Rhwr Dda’r stadium was not in the best of condition and so no first team candidates would be risked.

A couple of asides here regarding what our manager had to say to those supporters in midweek. First, with him having mentioned about Cameron Coxe being called up to the Welsh squad for training before they departed for the game with Mexico in May and with many feeling right back is an area we need strengthening in, it was a little disappointing for me to see him featuring on Friday – last year he started against Taffs Well in a much stronger team than this time and it only added to the feeling I have that his club career did not progress last season.

There was a clue as to our manager’s thinking as to why this should be when he made some pretty scathing comments about the whole Development team set up, calling it a waste of time – I should emphasise here that Mr Warnock’s words were aimed at the system generally as opposed to the situation at his club. There was talk of more friendlies being played by the Under 23s against local non league sides so that the young players can get some experience of playing against mens teams and, you’d like to think that our Premier League status could make it easier for the older members of the Under 23 squad to be loaned out.

Therefore, I’m guessing that the policy of packing the Development team with trialists that we saw last season is going to continue. This is a time of year when there are hundreds of players who have just been released by their clubs looking for a way to get back into the game and, given recent history at Cardiff, it was hardly a surprise to see the twenty two man City squad including ten trialists.


It was Healey who was the centre of attention though in a first half which saw City unable to fully cash in on their dominance because of a series of good saves by home keeper Stephen Hall. Hall was only beaten the once when Healey touched in from close range halfway through the half, but he came out on top against the striker when he saved Rhys’ penalty after he was brought down in the area.

The second half saw another goalkeeper with the surname Hall involved, as Matthew of that ilk replaced Camp (he’s a new signing from Bangor City who was on the books of West Brom at one time) and there was more action in and around his goal as Taffs Well offered more of an attacking threat than they did in the opening forty five minutes.

However, it was still City calling the shots for much of the time, and Healey, one of only three members of the starting eleven who survived beyond half time, made it two when he cut inside a defender to score confidently from about twelve yards out.

I won’t go into any detail on the multitude of trialists involved, but the scorer of the third goal, Scott McLean (a Scottish winger who has played for Kilmarnock, Troon and Albion Rovers), played a couple of games for our Under 23s back in February and did quite well, while Ryan Price (no info on him I’m afraid) provided the assists for both second half goals.

City now head off to Cornwall where there will be virtually a game a night being played through the coming week with the first team and development side playing alternately, but before finishing with Taffs Well, I should mention that the proceeds from the game will be going to Rookwood Hospital and Velindre Cancer Centre.

Not much else to record really. On the transfer front, it’s being reported that City and Liverpool have agreed another loan deal for Marko Grujic “in principle” and it seems that the Serbian international midfielder has expressed a desire to return to Cardiff City Stadium. It’s seems pretty certain that Grujic is one of the two loan players we are being told City are chasing, while the other one is a striker and the suggestion that it could be Artem Dzyuba was given slightly more credence by this piece which includes quotes from a  Russian television commentator. Also, a rumour to surface yesterday was that we were preparing an £11 nillion bid for West Brom’s Scottish international winger Matt Phillips – I know our manager likes his wingers, but another one? Really?

Finally, Greg Halford announced on Twitter on Thursday that he was leaving City. I would like to wish someone who never let us down and whose experience proved to be a help at times last season best wishes for the future – here’s what he had to say, I think it says much about the man and the spirit at the club he has left.