The Race for Second: Cardiff City
The majority of the squad have been together over the last few seasons and they have added extra quality every year. Let's hope they get end of season syndrome again.
1) Quality - With an enviable forward line boasting Chopra, Bellamy, Bothroyd and the attacking Peter Whittingham, Cardiff perhaps have the best squad of all the sides in the mix.
2) Experience - They have the players, the manager (Dave Jones has done it before with Wolves) and the support. Prior years' experience should be a valuable asset.
1) Mentality - Lost last years' play-off final after leading twice. Year before that, they went from top two to out of the top six in the last four matches. No doubt this will be on all their minds again.
With the post-match bust up following the Reading game, it could be argued they have a questionable mentality.
2) Form - 2 wins in 8 is hardly earth shattering form, have possibly peaked too early - again. The side is beatable, but have they had their dip?
Jay Bothroyd. So reliant on him early in the season, to maintain their challenge they need to keep him fit and in-form.
Bellamy has not made the difference everyone might have expected, so it is down to Bothroyd to re-ignite the challenge.
Verdict - 2nd/3rd. Ended a run of no win in four games with the hammering of Derby. However, their next three games are very winnable and they could push us all the way.
For the record, I've got us 2nd/3rd too, but there is nothing to be scared of. All the other teams in the mix have weaknesses and we are very much in the driving seat. We are the form team and you get the feeling there's no stopping us.
One of my fellow writers said it felt like the mid-80's resurgence was happening all over again - he may just be right.
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