It has been a quiet pre-season for Cardiff City with just four acquisitions, and all friendlies complete. Are Cardiff City for the new season?
Cardiff City: Ready for the New Season?
Only Jazz Richards (Fulham) and Frédéric Gounongbe (Westerlo) have joined the squad that competed in the 2015/2016 season. Lex Immers and Kenneth Zohore have joined permanently from Feyenoord and K.V. Kortrijk respectively, following loan spells last season.
The benefit of Jazz Richards joining the Bluebirds is that he will already have a good understanding of Head Coach Paul Trollope’s coaching methods after both were a part of Wales successful Euro 2016 campaign. The City squad now consists of just two Welshmen, with Richards joining youngster Declan John as the ‘local lad’.
On the field, it has been a fairly successful pre-season for Trollope who started with a defeat against Forest Green using Russell Slade’s traditional 4-4-2 tactic. A 4-0 thumping of Shrewsbury Town at Greenhouse Meadow followed, with Anthony Pilkington, Frédéric Gounongbe, an own goal and Kenneth Zohore netting in a game where Trollope deployed a 3-5-2 formation, a formation reminiscent of Wales recent heroics.
The squad then travelled to Germany to compete in the Osnabrück Tournament despite their first match against RW Ahlen being abandoned after 45 minutes due to thunder and lighting. Then came two back-to-back victories against VFL Osnabrück and FC St. Pauli on the same day. The first, a 3-0 win with goals from Frédéric Gounongbe, Declan John and Anthony Pilkington. Later in the afternoon the second victory was a tighter affair, 2-1 to the Bluebirds with a goal from Lex Immers kicking things off, before an own goal sealed the win and the trophy.
The Bluebirds final pre-season fixture came against Premier League AFC Bournemouth who beat Cardiff City 5-3 last time they played each other at the Vitality Stadium in the Sky Bet Championship. In what was a tight game, the Premier League side came away with a 1-0 victory after their record signing of £15 million; Jordan Ibe, scored after 15 minutes.
How will the Bluebirds fare?
With just seven days until the opening Championship game against Birmingham City, Cardiff City and Paul Trollope will be hoping they can bolster the squad with just two strikers – along with winger Pilkington – the only firepower City possess. Adam Le Fondre, Federico Macheda and Kagisho Dikgacoi have all been told that they can look for other clubs, following Eoin Doyle’s permanent move to Preston North End. Striking options were a concern last season and with Pilkington having covered that position for over half the season, it looks as though he could be called upon regularly up top again this season.