Can Russell Slade and Ravel Morrison revive Cardiff City?
Cardiff City were pre-season Championship promotion favourites with Coral, but are now 8/1 to bounce straight back into the Premier League following a dismal start to the season.
That cost Ole Gunnar Solskjaer his job as Bluebirds boss, and now reports say controversial club owner Vincent Tan is persisting in trying to prise Russell Slade away from Leyton Orient. He is the odds-on 4/6 favourite to take the reins in the Wales capital as a result.
Slade has taken in Scarborough, Grimsby, Yeovil, Brighton and now east London during his coaching career so far. There’s nothing particularly glamorous about these clubs, so it’s no wonder he is “proud” to be linked with the vacancy of Cardiff.
Although Slade was honoured with the League One Manager of the Year award last term for getting Orient into the play-offs, he has never got a side promoted. That lack of tangible achievement is somewhat tempered by the budgets in which he has operated, however.
One thing Bluebirds fans will be pleased to know, though, is Slade at least provides stability. More often than not, it’s been about initially keeping clubs up, and that fire-fighting quality is much-needed in the Welsh capital to prevent the kind of freefall that Wolves endured.
Inheriting a top-heavy squad from Solskjaer, Slade would have to strike the right balance and the proposed loan for West Ham United midfielder Ravel Morrison raises its own set of questions. Peter Whittingham has been reliable as Cardiff’s playmaker for many years now, hence his two Player of the Season awards.
While Morrison is a mercurial talent, there’s an element of hit and miss about his performances, not to mention off-the-field controversies. If he can achieve consistency at the Bluebirds, however, he can supplement the likes of Kenwyne Jones and Adam le Fondre up front nicely.
Although Tan and the Cardiff hierarchy would never admit it, they are gambling on Slade’s coaching credentials and Morrison getting his head down and delivering match-winning performances. If such things can be synergised, then we should see the Bluebirds soar again in the weeks and months ahead.