Having already beaten two Championship teams at the Montgomery Waters Meadow, Tuesday sees us looking for the hat trick with the visit of Cardiff City. The Bluebirds finished last season in mid-table and their twelfth place last season makes them the most successful team we will play this closed season in terms of the previous season. It may be interesting to note that all the teams we will have played at the Meadow all finished between 12th and 20th in the Championship or it may just be a coincidence.
Like most teams City have been active in the transfer market, releasing a number of players but keeping much of last seasons squad, including top scorer Thomas Zohore and goal scoring midfielder Anthony Pilkington.
The Bluebirds most eye-catching summer signing in terms of money spent is 28-year-old forward Lee Tomlin who cost City £2-3 million. Tomlin is a player who made his name in non-league with Rushden before moving into the Football League with Peterborough scoring 32 times in 135 games including eleven goals in the Championship. He's also spent time with Middlesbrough, Bournemouth and his previous club Bristol City.
Forward Danny Ward has played up front and on the wing and came to City from Rotherham where he impressed Cardiff boss Neil Warnock enough to make him part with nearly £2 million for his services. Ward had been with Rotherham for a couple of seasons after moving for around £1 million from Huddersfield. An exciting player who can ping a killer assist and score from distance, he could prove to be a bit of a bargain.
Nathaniel Mendez-Laing is someone we should recognise from his time here on loan with us in 2014. It wasn't our best of recent seasons and he didn't really make a massive impact although I thought he improved with each game. The ex-Wolves trainee has spent time on loan with four other clubs (Peterborough, Portsmouth, Cambridge and Sheffield United) and has also had full time contracts with four clubs including Cardiff (Rochdale, Peterborough and Wolves although he never made an appearance for the first team).
The mantra of “friendly results aren't important” is well used at this time of the year and I'm going to use it again because that's what everyone who knows what they're on about says. The problem is that I'm a fan and I can’t help but be pleased by the results so far. I'm also pretty pleased with the performances throughout the team, obviously not everyone has been perfect but the commitment seems to run through the team at the moment. Where people haven't been perfect, I prefer to think it's fitness levels not being perfect just yet rather than a lack of ability of effort. What I really want to see is the crisp passing game we've seen so far this pre-season, I've been impressed by our ability to move the ball quickly forward through the team. Defensively I thought the partnership between Nsiala and Jules has looked most solid so far although there are a few combinations possible at the back that could work well. My prediction is in hope rather than expectation, I'd like to see a few goals from either side with the emphasis on the impressive.
Shrewsbury Town 3-3 Cardiff City