Roy will feel Cardiff chill

MENTION the name of Roy Keane in and around the corridors of the new Cardiff City Stadium, and you would be apt to get a frosty response.

Carl Marston

By Carl Marston

MENTION the name of Roy Keane in and around the corridors of the new Cardiff City Stadium, and you would be apt to get a frosty response.

Keane will certainly not be on the Bluebirds' Christmas Card list whatever the outcome of Sunday's Championship duel in south Wales.

For it was Keane, in his first match in charge of Ipswich Town, who effectively cost Cardiff a chance to reach the promised land of the Premier League last April.

Town's 3-0 victory was actually a double whammy for Dave Jones' stunned Cardiff team, because that game marked the end of an era - the last match to be staged at the old Ninian Park ground.

Most Read

Keane's men were party-poopers that day, and Bluebirds fans have not forgotten it!

They had wanted to celebrate their final appearance to the famous old ground with a win, which would have ensured at least a play-off spot on the penultimate weekend of the season.

As it happened, Cardiff bombed out completely. A 1-0 defeat at Sheffield Wednesday on the final day allowed both Burnley and Preston to leapfrog them into the top six. The Welshmen finished an agonising seventh.

Move on seven months and Cardiff are back in the play-off zone, although once again Town could ensure they are knocked out of the top six with a surprise result this weekend.

Just one point from a possible nine in their last three fixtures, including back-to-back away defeats at deadly rivals Swansea City and Barnsley, have seen Jones' men slip to fifth.

In fact, by the time that Town kick-off against them this weekend, hosts Cardiff could already be out of the play-off zone. QPR, Blackpool, Watford, Nottingham Forest and Bristol City all have the potential to overhaul them during their Saturday outings.

Ross McCormack was the man to partner star player Michael Chopra, the Championship's leading scorer, during last weekend's 1-0 defeat at Barnsley.

And McCormack, although not forgetting Town's heart-breaking win from last April, is not just focussed on out-and-out revenge.

“It's not a revenge mission because of the last game at Ninian Park,” insisted McCormack.

“But always any team that beats you, means you want to get them back the next chance you get.”

Goals from Pablo Counago, David Norris and Jon Stead ensured a comfortable win for Keane on his debut appearance as Town boss at Ninian Park.

Ironically, all three might not be in the starting line-up on Sunday. Norris continues to make good progress following his long-term knee injury, and should be back around Christmas, while strikers Counago and Stead did not start the last match, a 0-0 home draw against Sheffield Wednesday last Saturday.

Stead appeared as a substitute, but Counago was not even in the 18-man squad. The Spaniard did, however, play for a Town XI in a behind-closed-doors friendly against Celtic on Wednesday afternoon.

One man who especially enjoyed himself at Ninian Park last term was Richard Wright. He saved McCormack's penalty when the score was 0-0.

And Wright looks set to get the nod for Sunday, following Asmir Begovic's return to Portsmouth at the start of the week, and Town's inability to sign another loan keeper yesterday.