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Fan Focus: Cardiff fan Alex says ex-Sunderland striker Connor Wickham has been a decent signing!

Ahead of Sunderland’s away trip to Cardiff, Matty spoke to writer Alex Wallace to discuss their survival hunt under Sabri Lamouchi. Which Cardiff players should Sunderland be wary of?

Matthew Crichton: After changing managers twice this season, the man currently in charge of Cardiff is ex-Nottingham Forest manager Sabri Lamouchi, what has he changed to deliver an improvement in results?

Alex Wallace: Sabri has changed the side for the better. It’s the result of having a proper manager with experience in the dugout.

Lamouchi has adapted new roles for certain players and has allowed them to thrive alongside their teammates giving us a better identity on the pitch.

MC: Sunderland fans will remember Vincent Tan from our days in the Premier League when he changed Cardiff’s home shirt to red, what are Cardiff fans current feelings on the ownership?

AW: Mainly negative. Lots of fans want a change in ownership, mainly down to those below him on the board. Many fans have still not forgiven him for the change of identity in the past.

Tan has kept us afloat on the financial side but has also made some silly financial decisions when it comes to signings. I’d say fans' minds are still leaning toward his exit.

Sunderland v Milton Keynes Dons - Sky Bet League One - Stadium of Light
Connor Wickham scored on his last visit to the Stadium of Light for MK Dons.
Photo by Owen Humphreys/PA Images via Getty Images

MC: Ex-Sunderland striker Connor Wickham scored and assisted the other day against Blackpool after facing vast criticism for a naive social media post - how has he performed since joining in January?

AW: Wickham has been a decent signing. He’s a physical presence and gives us another option.

Of course, his off-pitch antics raised some eyebrows but he managed to bounce back from that instantly with a good performance against Blackpool.

MC: With Callum Robinson out injured, Lamouchi will be relying on Sory Kaba to find the net, with five goals in 10 games so far, what are his key strengths?

AW: Kaba is great. He’s been a great addition and has done exactly what he came in to do. He’s good in the air and has the ability to score all sorts of goals.

He’ll be a threat to Sunderland and if we are to score it’ll come through him.

Cardiff City v West Bromwich Albion - Sky Bet Championship
Sory Kaba is currently on loan from Danish side Midtjylland.
Photo by Cardiff City FC/Getty Images

MC: Cedric Kipre was the standout performer when the two sides met earlier this year, which Cardiff players should Tony Mowbray’s side be wary of?

AW: Jaden Philogene was the first to come to mind. A skillful, tricky player with goals and assists in his game. Kaba is another that can cause problems.

Ryan Wintle for me is our best midfielder and always manages to be the glue in the spine of our side.

MC: In terms of weaknesses, what are you concerned about ahead of hosting Sunderland?

AW: We’re very vulnerable defensively. The likes of Amad Diallo for Sunderland could really thrive against our defence and have a good chance of catching either of our goalkeepers out - regardless of who plays.

Pace can hurt us and we need to make sure we set up to defend that.

Sunderland v Cardiff City - Sky Bet Championship
Anthony Patterson saved a penalty when the two sides last met at the Stadium of Light.
Photo by Cardiff City FC/Getty Images

MC: How do you think Lamouchi will approach the match tactically?

AW: I think Sabri will stick to his usual setup. Employing either a four or five-man midfield. Philogene as a wide midfielder and possibly setting up with two strikers to get the best chances of scoring against Sunderland.

Defensively is hard to call, a few different combinations could be chosen.

MC: Are any key players missing and which eleven do you think he will select?

AW: Callum Robinson is out with an injury, he’s our best attacker when fit. I think Sabri will go unchanged from the side that beat Blackpool.

(3-4-1-2) GK: Allsop, McGuinness, Kipre, Ng, Ralls, Wintle, Sawyers, Romeo, Philogene, Kaba, Wickham.

MC: Sunderland’s last victory at Cardiff came back in 2007 - what is your score prediction for this time around?

AW: I think Sunderland will come out on top. 3-1 is my prediction.


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