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Interview with an away fan: Cardiff City

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Leeds United will be looking to beat Cardiff City tomorrow...for the first time since 1984. Ahead of yet another changed Leeds United fixture I spoke to Gareth Baker a Cardiff fan and blogger.

Cardiff are one point outside the play-offs in 9th place. Are you happy with the way the season has started?

In hindsight, I think our defending could be much, much better. Attacking-wise we are solid, scoring nine goals in our last three games is a fantastic achievement, however, conceding seven isn't. That is our pitfall. If Malky Mackay can sort out our defence as a unit, I'm sure we'd be able to challenge automatic promotion. I'm quite content with our start, but there are certain things to be worried about, in short.

Dave Jones was the manager from 2005-2011 and came close to getting you promoted on three occasions. What was it that made you fail at the final hurdle and were you sad to see him go?

What made a side fall at the final hurdle for 4 seasons in a row? Personally, I think its got to be the management behind the team. Dave Jones was a fantastic manager in terms of his great knowledge of the transfer market, his ability to bring in big-name signings and even getting us to an FA Cup final. What he wasn't, though, was a good man manager. He wasn't tactically sound either, playing the same formation throughout his term as Cardiff manager and hardly ever making meaningful substitutions. However, when you have someone at the helm for 6 years, you get used to the set-up and it was weird seeing him sacked. He's a great manager at championship level, but he needs to learn to not take himself so seriously, and try new tactics.

Malky Mackay has built a good reputation due to his time at Watford, were you happy with that appointment?

Well apparently it was him or Alan Shearer, so I couldn't be more ecstatic.

Last season you came close once again to the promised land, what are the expectations this year and can you get promoted with the current squad?

I have no expectations this term. I feel we need to gel as a team, and for the fans to get used to the fact its going to take some time for this completely new set up to produce results. Of course there's always a possibility of promotion, but I'm not going to get sucked into that drama again. I'm sure many of our fans feel the same.

There is some form of rivalry between us and yourselves. It all started after our FA Cup tie in 2002 when there was plenty of crowd trouble and controversy. For me Sam Hammam didn't help matters, walking round the pitch head patting. What was your take on all of this?

I feel there is a certain element of hostility when we play each other, but its the same wherever you travel as a Cardiff fan. Of course the 2002 victory heightened the animosity between our two clubs supporters, but I feel it isn't something to charge us nearly £40 a ticket for. My take on Sam Hammam's actions in that game was that I thought he was a legend, and that was the most entertaining thing I'd ever seen. However, I was 10 when I went to that game! Now I think he's a raving loony who deserves to be institutionalised.

After a difficult start to October you've now won two on the bounce. Do you think you can now build on this and go on a run even though you have struggled with consistency all season?

I think the two wins will give our side much needed confidence, not because they won, but because they showed that they can score goals. That as an attacking force they aren't to be brushed aside.

Ex-Leeds player Stephen McPhail is well respected by Leeds fans. He has had it tough the past few years but hopefully he is past all the problems. What do Cardiff fans think of him?

He deserves to be respected as he is a model professional who deserves all the praise he can get. He's undervalued here by a lot of fans, but most of those don't know their heads from their toes and just look to boo anybody. I think any Cardiff supporter with sense will see that he is a key player for us, he plays an Iniesta-role in our midfield, obviously not with the same talent, but the principle applies!

If you fail to get promoted once again do you think you lose your key players like Peter Whittingham etc?

I don't think we have a bunch of egos this campaign so no, I think we'll be able to keep hold of most of our current squad. Peter Whittingham is too laid back to just get up and move away, he's happy here so I can't see him going.

Who do Leeds fans need to watch out for on Sunday?

Peter Whittingham is obviously our best player, maybe even the best in the league but other than him I'd look out for Joe Mason, Aron Gunnarsson and Don Cowie. Defensively Kevin McNaughton is always sound.

If you could have any Leeds player who would it be?

Ross McCormack.

Prediction for the match? I think we will bounce back and win 2-1.

Leeds 1-3 Cardiff

(McCormack) (Whittingham, pen. Cowie, Mason)

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