AFC Wimbledon are starting their search today to find a replacement for the departed Glyn Hodges.
Given that in the past, the Dons have gone for relatively untried managers, albeit good coaches, with experience of coaching development sides or Under 23 levels
It is understood that this time, appointing a manager with proven league experience would be an advantage, one with a track record of winning promotion would be even better
So who are the potential managerial candidates to replace Gly Hodges
In no particular order:
Cowley recently left his post as Huddersfield coach, but who til that point had a very good track record with Concord Rangers, Baraintree Town and then Lincoln City, who he guided into the Football League, then subsequently got them into League One, before being lured to Huddersfield and saved them from Relegation
His last managerial post was at Grimsby, but he left there, with a takeover imminent, as he felt the new owners were not being ethical
Grimsby was his first lower league appointment for a few years, since being at Blackpool, but he brings a wealth of managerial expertise gained at Crystal Place QPR and similar locations
A former manager of Wimbledons South London Rivals Millwall, with who he did a good job taking them from League One into the Championship on a shoestring budget, before being lured to Cardiff City, where sadly for him, things didn’t work out.
Recently departed from Fleetwood Town, but in terms of league experience, has just 18 months at Fleetwood to show for it, but the downside is, he has a hair trigger temper, which doesn’t fit in with the family run image that AFC Wimbledon has.
Who ever Wimbledon appoint now it needs to be one with experience and a decent track record of improving the club and getting promotion.
New Cardiff City Manager Mick McCarthy will face hometown club Barnsley in his first game in charge of the welsh club. The new Cardiff boss played 314 times for the club where he stared his playing career.
McCarthy takes over from Neil Harris at Cardiff after a run of six defeats saw the club make the chance in manager. Barnsley have three wins and three defeats from their last six games. However in their last match in the FA Cup the host beat Championship leaders Norwich City 1-0 at Oakwell thanks to a Callum Styles goal.
Cardiff ran out three nil winners when the side meet in November at Cardiff City Stadium. Cardiff won the corresponding fixture last season by two goals to nil.
History favours The Bluebirds who have won the last five meetings of the teams.
Barnsley last win against City was in December 2012 in a thrilling game which ended 4-3 to The Tykes. Barnsley lead 3-1 at half time before Peter Whittingham pulled a goal back and Antony Pilkington levelled in the 89th minute. Ryan Williams got a winner for the visitors in fifth minute of added time.
Jordan Williams has returned to train today but this match may come too soon for the defender. Liam Kitching has had a set back recovering from a groin issue with Barnsley manager Valerian Ismael saying:
“We have to completely reduce the intensity and build up slowly. We want to get him back as soon as possible because we have a lot of games but we don’t want to take any risks. We hope he will be back in two or three weeks but we don’t want to put pressure on him.”
New Cardiff forward Max Watters is a doubt after pulling out of training on Monday. Its a blow for the new signing. Lee Tomlin is still out with a long term injury. Greg Cunningham is back fit and available for this game.
Barnsley manager Ismael has told the media he’s looking forward to the challenge of facing off against McCarthy:
“I know he is a Barnsley guy. I am very delighted to face such a big manager, with his experience. It’s a big challenge.
“It’s never easy to prepare a game when a new manager has come. But it is clear in this situation. We know exactly the way Cardiff plays football and I don’t think the new manager will take them in another direction.
“It will be a fight, all about the set pieces and the second ball and the desire to win the game. It will be a completely different game than against Norwich. We will be ready.
“I learned you need to have flexibility in your way to play football and which players to choose for the Championship. It was, for me, the breakthrough in the Championship because, after 90 minutes, I learned almost everything of what you need in the Championship. Since that game, we have developed the squad and the team. We are not finished, it is always a process, but we made big steps.
“If you look at the starting 11 last time and this time, it will be a completely different team. We have a different mindset now. We are very happy with our performance, but we are unhappy with the points in the last games. It is all about getting the points now against Cardiff.”
Cardiff manager McCarthy spoke at his pre match press briefing about the need to pick the players up, and bringing some confidence back:
“How do you get confidence back into them? A solid team performance and getting results. Nothing else gets it back. They might enjoy training, it might be a bit more fun. I’ve been there when you’re losing games. It’s hard to come in with smiles on your face. So if the last two days have been a bit lighter and they enjoy it, it will only continue with a result against Barnsley. Then it’s Millwall. It all hinges on results, there’s no doubt about that.
“We’ve got to stop getting beaten. That’s first and foremost, and you do that by having a solid shape. That’s no disrespect to anybody else. When you get beat, you start to get a bit fragmented on the pitch and they look around and start blaming each other.
“I saw a bit of that in the first training session. But it can’t be one man’s fault. You can’t just blame Neil Harris. If you’re in that state where you’ve lost seven games in a row, if you concede, you see players drop straight away. We’re going to have to organise against Barnsley and a real solid performance. Only on the back of those will we get confidence back.”
For Barnsley Callum Styles who scored as they beat Norwich in the FA Cup will be key. The midfielder has four goals and two assists so far this season. He also has four man of the match awards and a whoscored.com rating of 6.96.
Cardiff will be looking for Kieffer Moore to return to the form he was in before being out with an injury. The Wales and Cardiff striker has eight goals this season and ranks second in the Championship player ratings on whoscored.com with a rating of 7.52.
Prediction; Barnsley 0 v 1 Cardiff
New Managers normally mean a upturn in performances. McCarthy will have his Cardiff side organised and working hard. Barnsley will have more of the ball as Cardiff look to go back to basics.
Mick McCarthy is set to be named new Cardiff City manager after the club parted with Neil Harris on Thursday 21st January. Neil Harris and his assistant David Livermore left Cardiff with immediate effect after a run of six defeats left the club 15th in the Championship.
“I’d like to thank Neil and David sincerely for their hard work at Cardiff City.
“Their efforts to propel us towards a fifth-place finish and Play-Off position last year are recognised and appreciated, although sadly we are in a result-orientated business and our on-field results of late and progress this season has been very poor. As such, we have had no choice but to relieve them of their duties in an effort to improve results and league position with a change of manager.”
The club now look set to name former Sunderland, Ipswich and Ireland manager McCarthy, 61 to take over. An early favourite to get the job, news broke on BBC Sport, that McCarthy was set to take over from Harris at the Welsh Capital.
McCarthy is a vastly experienced manager starting at Millwall in 1992. He left Millwall in 1996 and took over from Jack Charlton as Republic of Ireland manager. He took the Ireland side to the 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea. In the build up for the tournament an argument with captain Roy Keane led to the then Manchester United player being sent home.
After Ireland McCarthy took the role at Sunderland and won the Championship in 2004/05. Following Sunderland he spent eight years at Wolves winning the Championship in 2008/09. Four years as manger of Ipswich before a brief return as Ireland Manager between November 2018 to April 2020. His most recent role was at APOEL FC from November 2020 to January 2021.
McCarthy’s appointment has not been greatly received by Cardiff City fans who have taken to social media. Many thinking this shows a lack of a long term plan by the club.
Details of whether this is a short term appointment or a longer term are not known but McCarthy should be able to steady the ship. Cardiff are a side that are low on confidence and prone to errors currently. McCarthy’s simple way of playing along with going back to basic’s should be enough for Cardiff to finish mid table.
A run to the play-offs this season is starting to look too far away. If this is a managerial appointment to steady and regain confidence then it could be a good move. What will matter is what happens over the summer Cardiff have lacked a long term vision for many years and this needs to be addressed.
The club have yet to announce anything but McCarthy’s appointment is expected to made soon.
Championship leaders Norwich head to Cardiff on Saturday looking to maintain their four point lead at the top of the table. The two side will be familiar with each other having met at Carrow Road on December 19th, with Norwich winning two goals to nil.
Cardiff manager Neil Harris is under pressure after seeing his side lose four games in a row, a run that has seen The Bluebirds drop to 15th in the table. Norwich have lost just one game in their last nine, a 1-0 defeat at Watford. This run includes seven wins.
Cardiff are struggling with injuries currently but are hopeful that Wales forward Kieffer Moore will be able to take part this weekend. Full back Greg Cunningham is back training but Saturday’s game comes to soon for him. Cardiff captain Sean Morrison is also likely to miss this match, and Aden Flint (who returned from loan at Sheffield Wednesday this month) will also miss out. On Loan right back Jordi Osei-Tutu came off after 40 minutes of a under 23’s game this week so Leandro Bacuna will continue at right back, whilst Joe Bennett will play a t centre half again.
Cardiff announced this week that Sol Bamba has been diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin lymphoma and will be receiving treatment. Whilst he won’t be part of the match squad Bamba will be supporting his team mates and continuing his role at the clubs academy. Everyone at 24/7 Football send their thoughts to Sol and his family.
Norwich will be without Bali Mumba and Xavi Quintilla for the trip to Cardiff after the pair tested positive for COVID-19. Goal keeper Tim Krul and Adam Idah are both still recovering from the virus and will not be the match squad. Lukas Rupp and josh Martin will also be out for this game both are ill. Marco Stiepermann is suffering from an ear infection and will miss this game.
Neil Harris dismissed that this is a must win game during his pre-match press conference saying:
“It’s not a must-win game, we are not anywhere near that position.
“We have come away from being very close to it to where we are now.
“To get back there we have to put a consistent run of results together. Whether that’s fit players or new signings, that’s vitally important.
“But then, we have still got a group of players who are good enough to compete at the top of this division.
“We are a side capable of putting a run together. We showed that last season and this season as well.
“This weekend is going to be tough but it’s a game we can win. Then we have a run of games where we can build performances and results.”
“Cardiff are a side who know how they pay. Kieffer Moore could come back in, they have an unbelievably experienced coach. Right now, they’re not in the position they want to be but that have potential to win five or six in a row.
“It will be a difficult away game and they’ll be highly-motivated coming up against the league leaders at home.
“I trust my players and we’re confident in each and every game. Cardiff will want to show a reaction to the first game. We need a very good performance and we are respectful.”
Prediction; Cardiff 0 v 2 Norwich
Cardiff are on a poor run and still without several key players and lacking a cutting edge in front of goal. Norwich should win this game comfortably.
Kick off for this game is 3pm on Saturday 16th of January.
As derby games go there are not many bigger, historic or outright bizarre than the South Wales derby between Cardiff and Swansea. A friendly rivalry for many years at first turned into one of the most heated matches in football.
As welsh clubs playing in the English football league the early derby matches were played with fans mixing and some friendly banter. As the years went on on football hooliganism escalated so did the hatred between the two sets of fans.
A Brief History
Trouble at football games in the UK had been on the rise throughout the 70’s and 80’s and Cardiff and Swansea games were no different. Many football fans will be familiar with Swansea’s Swim Away gesture to Cardiff fans. This all stems from an incident at a match in Swansea in 1988.
As this was pre smart phones and viral videos accounts of the incident vary wildly but after a 2-0 Cardiff win around 30 Cardiff supporters were chased into the water. Police moved the Swansea fans away and dripping wet Cardiff supporters emerged from the waters. The swim away gesture has been used by many ex Swansea players whilst playing against Cardiff.
This season’s first meeting will take place at the Cardiff City Stadium, but without any supporters. It will be the first without any fans at the ground, but for many years away supporters were banned from this fixture.
After years of rising trouble at the derby fixture the FAW finally had enough in 1993, banning away supporters for four years. It came to a head after a match at Ninian Park in 1993, the game has been dubbed the “Battle of Ninian Park”. Swansea fans came to Ninian Park and ripped out seats and threw them at Cardiff supporters. Cardiff supporters responded by invading the pitch to attack the Swansea fans. Former Football Intelligence officer Simon Chivers described it as “the worst violence I’ve ever seen.” There were many arrests and several police officers and supporters were injured in one of the darkest days for Welsh football. For the first time in the UK away supporters were banned from attending until 1997.
Thankfully scenes like this are no longer the norm at Cardiff/Swansea games. When fans were allowed to attend away games all fixtures between the sides have been “bubble” games.
Across the years no side has ever won two league meetings in a season. The clubs have won two games in a season, but due to playing in the Welsh Cup, the league double has never been done.
Cardiff have turned their form around winning four straight games. They have scored ten and conceded just one in that run. They have climbed up to 9th place and are just four points from the play-off places.
Swansea, meanwhile, have won three, drawn two and lost one of their last six games. They are in 4th place and only a point behind 2nd placed Bournemouth.
Last season saw a goalless draw at Cardiff while Swansea won 1-0 in their home game. Prior to last season the last derby games came in the Premier League.
Swansea enjoyed a 3-0 win at the Liberty Stadium in Garry Monk’s first game as manager. It was the Bluebirds who won the first ever Premier League game 1-0 with former Swansea player Steven Caulker scoring the only goal.
Cardiff have the edge overall with 44 wins to Swansea’s 36, with 28 draws.
Harry Wilson is a major doubt for the game with an arm injury picked up during City’s win at Stoke on Tuesday. Osei-Tutu and Tomlin are both still unavailable. With Wilson likely to miss this game Junior Hoilett will be the most likely to step in in.
Morgan Gibbs-White is still out for Swansea but Steve Copper will have no new injury concerns.
“It’s a huge game. Bragging rights are at stake. It’s a massive game. I was watching some footage earlier of the game back in January. The stadium was packed, atmosphere was electric. Both clubs will miss the fans. It’s a great fixture in the football calendar, one of the biggest games of the season in the Championship.
“Fans will be missed but it doesn’t take away the importance of it.“
“We know the importance to the fan base.“
Harris was asked if he understood the importance of this game for the Cardiff fans,
“Course I do. It’s never lost on me.“
“In my playing career, they are the best games to play in.
“I know the importance to the fan base and that will certainly be mentioned in the changing room. It already has been.
“It’s not a joy for people in lockdown in the lead up to Christmas and they can’t watch their team. There’s been a hardship and we have an opportunity to put smiles on faces.“
“It will be different in terms of the game and atmosphere,
“They were electric atmospheres last season, as anyone who was there will tell you, so we can’t shy away from it, it is different.
“That’s why you cannot compare with previous seasons or previous games.
“But is a game that means an awful lot to supporters, it’s one we really want to win and one we want to really commit to and attack.
“It is for the supporters. I want them to see a team working hard and giving their best because football is so important to so many people.
“It will be a perfect chance to give a bit back and we will be committing to that.”
While Kieffer Moore is gaining plaudits for his recent form part of this has been down to the introduction of Mark Harris. Harris has been a revelation since his introduction to the starting line which has seen Cardiff win the last four. Harris has scored one himself but gives defenders more to think about allowing more space for Moore. The Swansea born striker could be the key to unlocking Swansea’s defence.
Andre Ayew has picked up seven goals this season for Swansea. Swansea have only lost one game this season when Ayew has scored. The striker is a big game player and will relish this fixture.
Prediction; Cardiff ? v ? Swansea
This derby is unpredictable at the best of times. Playing behind closed doors will change the dynamic like never before in this fixture. Its likely to be a close game with just a goal in it.