The Blues face Walsall in League Two action here at Brunton Park on Saturday afternoon with both sides going into the game looking for the points for their own reasons.
Having played the Saddlers recently head coach Chris Beech confirmed that he expects it to be a completely different type of game at his Friday morning press conference.
“The two Cardiff games were completely different and I think that will be the case against Walsall,” he commented. “The consistent traits that we’ve talked about are so hard to replicate at this level. What actually changes from Saturday to Saturday isn’t massive.
“Some players are playing a lot of football and can be a bit fatigued, which I think we saw at Oldham. At the same point, not a lot changes, but a lot changes. It’s the same for everybody at this level of football, and we want to find those consistent traits that represent good practice which result in three points.”
Looking back at the last encounter, he said: “We kept probing the first game, but midway into the second half Walsall were on top. You don’t have a divine right to be on top for 96 minutes, but the lads are learning how to stay in games and how to fight.
“Disciplines come in different forms, it isn’t just about being on time for training and things like that, it’s about getting back in position and running down your opponent. The lads are representing them, but we’ve got to bring them all together now. We’ve got a real good opportunity going into the last 19 games to make sure we come out the other side in a better place.
“Look, Walsall have got great players, and I’ve talked often about that. I was very complimentary about Wes McDonald and he’s just scored another great goal to win a tight League Two game. He does some sort of Maradona turn, jink and it’s followed by some sort of Ronaldo type shot which helps Walsall to get another three points.
“That’s backed up with discipline and consistent traits from all of the other players they have, but without the stand-out operator those three points are harder to get. I’m mindful of Wes, but they’ve got other very good players too. He’s doing really well, he’s just signed his new contract, which means he’s a happy chappy, so he’s one we’ll watch.
“I know Marcus [Stewart] and Darrell [Clarke], they’re great guys, I played with Marcus at Huddersfield and Darrell is a good, experienced manager, and I’m just really looking forward to competing against them here at home.”
“They’re in good form, but that’s what they do,” he added. “They had a funny start to the season, they were losing consistently and then winning consistently, and now they’ve got a consistent behaviour over maybe 20 games. Maybe a bit less.
“Before that they were really indifferent, but one thing they do demand is a hard-working aspect to their team. That’s what they will have, with two or three special players in that system that can win that football match.
“We’ve prepared well, I’ve been pleased with the lads, but this is what we do. We work all week, we prepare, it would be lovely to win, it would be beautiful. If we don’t, we haven’t, but there’s 18 opportunities after Saturday to make sure that comes our way.
“Often you don’t want that to go on for too long but you can see in the games, we’ve been competitive in every single one asides from the three teams that stand out in our league. That’s not to say it’s accepted, I understand that’s where Carlisle would want to be. But we’ve got to admire those traits.
“I remember, sharing my past experiences, we got promoted out of League Two on about 83 points, finished third, and didn’t beat anybody in the top six. That’s an unbelievable fact. So I’m not too concerned that three standout teams have beaten us up. I’d be concerned if that was happening six or seven times on the bounce against teams around us, but it hasn’t. We are fighting, but of course we want the three points.”
“That’s because we want to be giving the fans reasons to get off their seats,” he concluded. “I have said that at different football clubs I’ve been to ... I was fortunate enough a few weeks back to drive to Wolves when I dropped off into their academy to meet Elliot.
“They were playing Tottenham in the afternoon so I went through to watch that. I know it’s Premier League football, but what an experience that was, by the way, pre-game. The noise from the fans, and the fireworks, it’s a show.
“Obviously we’re not anywhere near that so we’ve got to create our own atmosphere. But is the dog wagging the tail or is it the tail wagging the dog? Who goes first? It would be nice for us to set a tempo, of course it would, but sometimes we need a little bit of help as well. That’s just the way it is, that’s football.”
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