Q. Former Leyton Orient manager Russell Slade has been in charge of the Bluebirds for ten months. What do you think of his approach and style? How does he compare to other recent appointments?
A. I think his approach to start off with was not attractive by any means, we did get off to a winning start at home but our away form was dreadful. Eventually we lost the unbeaten run at home in December and it started to go downhill from there. He approached the games in an outdated manner, with a reluctance to change things about and sticking with his favourites. This season, well during preseason and the home game against Fulham, we have seen a difference in how we play, with us now playing it on the floor more, the only thing lacking is a bit of pace in the side. I find it hard to compare Slade to Solskjaer and Mackay because he’s not been given any money by Tan at all, whilst the two before him have been given a warchest. I’d say he’s not in a position to get us promoted and none of us expect that from him, we know he is limited. Whereas the other two had their ways of exciting fans and earning praise.
Q. Cardiff’s transfer business has included Semi Ajayi and Jordan Blaise in on permanent deals. Sammy Ameobi has come in on loan from Newcastle. Notably Adam Le Fondre has gone out on loan to Wolves. How happy are you with your club’s dealings and why?
A. I’m content with our transfer business so far. A bit frustrated we’ve not brought in players with any real meaning to the squad, Ajayi and Blaise are both more or less developmental players and won’t feature much for us this year. Ameobi is a decent addition and not much of a risk since it’s a loan move and if it pays off then it won’t have cost as much! Le Fondre’s departure I’m happy about, he didn’t have any care for the club after Solskjaer left, he had plenty of chances and just didn’t take them, a bit strange he scored everywhere else bar us. I hope business picks up soon as we are still lacking in some departments. But the most important thing is to keep bringing down the wage bill but still remaining competitive, we need to have a sound financial footing.
Q. Cardiff owner Vincent Tan has shall we say an ‘interesting reputation’, and is known to be a close associate of QPR co-chairman Tony Fernandes. How do Bluebird fans view your owner now?
A. Our fans still view Vincent Tan in a negative manner. Whilst some fans accept that he is the only man willing to put money into the club, the re-brand still remains in the minds of City fans, who found the whole thing needless. He doesn’t attend games anymore, in fact he only attended one of the whole of last season. He’s invested in other clubs and seeks the admiration he craves from his other European ventures. That’s what he wants, to be admired by his fans, unfortunately he was misguided here and inflicted the re-brand on us All. Admittedly his money earned us promotion, but at what cost?
Q. Looking from the outside, what do you make of the issues at QPR right now. Any views on the Ramsey / Ferdinand management team?
A. I’ve not really had much research into it but from what I’ve seen I’m a bit sceptical on it all, you only have to look at the teams he’s professionally managed and question why he was put in such a role. He doesn’t even have any affiliation to the club it seems looking at his playing days? As soon as it was announced I felt QPR wouldn’t challenge for the title at least. Because of the management setup. I liked the look of the QPR team who won the Championship under Warnock and I feel that maybe they should have gone down that route and gone with a manager who knows the division.
Q. Cardiff and Rangers have history, particularly from the Playoff Final of 2003. That was a day many of us R’s fans choose to forget. What do think about the rivalry with QPR?
A. Some of our fans question the rivalry, especially with the chant that is sung at Loftus Road, about hating Cardiff City and your West London rivals Chelsea! I did see what the Cardiff fans did the night before the Playoff Final but it’s all part and parcel of it all I guess. We had the advantage of it being at our doorstep and I think that pushed us over the line. We’ve had plenty of Championship encounters over the years and to be honest I’m glad we’ll be playing again, our last encounters in your Championship winning season was a decent affair! Whether it seemed to be more competitive as we were both challenging for the top remains to be seen!
Q. How do you think Slade will set up your team to face QPR?
A. I think Slade will setup our team in a very defensive manner but we may spring a few surprises. At home the fans tend to get on the backs of the team very early on but away from home we’re more understanding, so perhaps Slade will put method into his thinking and setup in the right manner. For some reason our away form picked up last season and our home form dwindled! So hopefully both can be as good as each other. I think we’ll go one up top for definitely though and put more emphasis on the midfield!
Q. Who are the Cardiff City players to watch out for at Loftus Road?
A. The Cardiff City players to watch at Loftus Road are Joe Ralls and Joe Mason. The enigmatic duo are a joy to watch and have developed a great friendship, both on and off the pitch. Cardiff fans adore these players because of their young age but the fact they’re so technically good. Joe Ralls if played as a CM rather than the wing where he featured on Saturday, can cause proper damage. He can tackle, break up play and play a great pass. He has it all but needs to be played as a CM. Joe Mason, our striker, who we will be trying to build our team around has been hit and miss here but he’s a clinical finisher. It all depends whose up top with him or whose providing him the service, the striker can make some great solo runs, will definitely cause a few problems.
Q. Which current QPR player/s do you rate or admire, if any? What about QPR players of the past?
A. Only the obvious one which is Charlie Austin, I was hoping he would have left your club by now, he’s a great player and a clinical finisher. His stature helps him chip in with a fair few goals. Adel Taarabt is a player I admired watching in the Championship winning season, a great player at this level, a joy to watch. The only other former QPR player I have any real admiration for is Jordon Mutch and he barely featured for your lot! A great player on his day who has grown so much in a short space of time. Delighted to have got a fair bit of money for him off you as well! But a creative genius who is sorely missed here at the Cardiff City Stadium!
Q. Which three teams do you tip for promotion this season and why? What about the drop?
A. I tip Ipswich, Boro and Birmingham for promotion. The first two are the most obvious as one team has a great manager at this level and the second has an alright manager with a fantastic squad at his disposal. Birmingham I see being the dark horse this season, with a manager the fans adore and a squad that’s fighting for the shirt. It seems all could go right there! Fighting the drop I see Rotherham, Charlton and Preston down there. Rotherham the obvious choice considering they have so many new players.
Q. Score and prediction for Saturday evening?
A. My prediction is that it’ll be a 2-2 draw, with both teams conceding a goal due to a defensive lapse in concentration. Bluebirds!
Thank you to Adar for answering our questions!