Under Neil Harris, Cardiff City always seemed a loss away from permanent stagnation in mid-table. In the end, his dismissal seemed inevitable as those in Wales desired progression only an experienced manager could bring in. So, in came Mick McCarthy– a man who has seemingly been around English football for an eternity.
Upon his arrival, many believed the only task possible would be to take Cardiff out of their slump. Promotion seemed impossible after the damage done by Harris’ reign. They were a side struggling for goals, confidence and were, therefore, falling behind.
Yet, fast forward a month of McCarthy’s reign, and they sit sixth, having scored 13 goals in their last five games. Rejuvenated, reignited and ready for a play-off battle, Cardiff City look like a new team under the former Wolves manager.
Cardiff: Pushing for Promotion Under McCarthy
What a Difference a Month Makes
With Cardiff in 15th having lost seven of their last eight games, Harris’ sacking could not be questioned. It was the needed call to make for the Welsh side to progress. Yet, even the greatest of optimists could have foreseen this turnaround.
Ahead of Harris’ dismissal, Cardiff were 13 points behind Bournemouth. Now, under McCarthy, they are a point ahead of the Cherries, albeit with one more game played. In the space of a month, Cardiff’s relevancy in talks of a potential Wembley appearance has gone from non-existent to the talk of the town.
In contrast, Bournemouth have collapsed; Tindall is gone, and the Bluebirds have taken full advantage. When the two squared off a couple of weeks ago, Cardiff’s resurgence was confirmed with a convincing 2-1 away victory.
Nobody expected Mick McCarthy to have such an impact; a comfortable finish in the top half was expected. Yet, here they are, battling for promotion under the reign of a veteran of English football.
Getting the Best Out of Harry Wilson
So many have been quick to focus on Liverpool loanee Harvey Elliott as one to watch that they’ve left the always improving Harry Wilson behind. Elliott, at 17, has been a revelation at Blackburn Rovers- that cannot be questioned. But Harry Wilson has also enjoyed his time away from Merseyside in the Championship this season.
Slowly but surely, the Welshman is becoming a key figure under Mick McCarthy. For a long time, the Liverpool man failed to show his quality under Neil Harris. Yet, under McCarthy, he is thriving.
In fact, since the new manager arrived, Wilson has contributed to six goals in ten games. Only Emi Buendia has bettered his total of nine assists this season in the Championship. To put McCarthy’s ten-game influence into perspective, Wilson only had four before his arrival.
And, perhaps that’s the key to Cardiff’s newfound goalscoring touch. In the final five games of Harris’ reign, the Welsh side scored just four goals. In the next five, under McCarthy, Cardiff scored double that with ten.
The improvement in the space of a month has been incredible, and they’ll only get better as the season progresses, too- perhaps leaving them with a shot at Wembley.
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