A Cardiff fan’s view of Anthony Pilkington

 

Wigan Athletic have announced the signing of the 30-year-old Anthony Pilkington on an 18-month contract. The winger was signed as a free agent, having left Cardiff City by mutual agreement.

Although Pilkington has not played first team football this season, he has made over 300 career appearances in league football, with three full seasons in the Premier League. Although Pilkington was born in Blackburn, he has made 9 appearances for the Republic of Ireland, qualifying through having an Irish grandparent. He has an impressive goalscoring record for a wide player and can score spectacular goals with either foot. He can also play as a central striker.

On signing the player Paul Cook commented: “Anthony has good experience in the Championship and Premier League, I am delighted to bring him to Wigan Athletic. He won promotion with Cardiff City last season, so he knows what it takes to do well at this level and I am sure he will be a big asset to us for the rest of this campaign and beyond.”

The 6 ft tall Pilkington was part of the youth programs at Preston, Manchester United and Blackburn Rovers, but joined Atherton Collieries as a 17-year-old in November 2005 whilst attending Myerscough College, where the Collieries manager, Alan Lord, was a lecturer. After making a strong impression, scoring 19 goals in 35 games, he signed for Stockport County in December 2006. County were in League 2 at the time. Pilkington made 80 appearances for County over three seasons, scoring 17 goals, one of them helping them to win the League 2 playoffs in 2008.

Pilkington signed for Huddersfield Town, then in League 1, in January 2009. He went on to make 92 appearances for the Terriers, scoring 19 goals.

In the summer of 2011 he joined Norwich City for a fee of £2 m. He went on to make 58 Premier League starts, with 17 appearances off the bench, scoring 14 goals in three seasons with the Canaries.

In July 2014 Pilkington signed for Cardiff City for a fee of £1 m. He went on to make 111 appearances, scoring 23 goals and contributing eight assists. Last season he scored 5 goals in 13 appearances in the Bluebird’s promotion campaign.

In order to learn more about Pilkington’s time at Cardiff we reached out to Benjamin James of the View from the Ninian fan site (http://www.viewfromtheninian.com/).

Here’s over to Benjamin:

Pilks is a Cardiff player who deserved more from his time at Cardiff. He came in the season after we got relegated and was a bright light for us. Committed, scored and assisted and was pretty reliable. When Warnock came in, his space in the team became less of a guarantee and by the start of last year, he was out of the squad consistently.

But he was a model pro and worked hard and clawed his way back into contention. He wasn’t a regular, but he scored some important goals – none more so than his late equaliser at Sheffield United that went a long way to helping us get promoted.

There’s certainly a feeling that he should have had more of a say this season. It was perhaps a little unfair that he was left out the 25 for the Premier League when he could have been in the squad on merit – plus for his lengthy service.

 You’ve got a good player and a top pro on your hands.

 

 

A Cardiff fan’s view of Alex Revell

RevellIt was announced yesterday that Wigan Athletic have signed 32 year old Cardiff target man Alex Revell on a short term loan until January 23rd .

The 6 ft 3 in tall Revell was born in Cambridge and is a product of the Cambridge United youth system. After a four year spell with United in League 2, making 57 appearances and scoring 8 goals, he moved on to non-league Braintree Town. After scoring 39 goals in 65 appearances and helping Braintree get promotion to the Conference South, Revell signed for Brighton and Hove Albion in the summer of 2005 for £8,000.

After scoring 21 goals in 59 appearances in a two and a half year stay in Brighton, Revell moved on to Southend United in January 2008 for a fee of £150,000. In January 2009 Revell broke his leg in a game against Leyton Orient, missing the remainder of the season. In the 2009-10 season he was sent out on loan to Swindon Town and Wycombe Wanderers. During his time at Roots Hall, Revell had made 34 appearances, scoring 6 goals.

In summer 2010 he joined Leyton Orient, where he stayed for a year, and scoring 13 goals in 44 appearances. At the end of August 2011, Revell signed for League 2 Rotherham United. He went on to become a fan favourite as Rotherham climbed up to the Championship division under the management of Steve Evans.  In his four years there Revell made 150 appearances, scoring 28 goals.

Revell scored Rotherham’s first goal in the 2014 League 1 playoff first leg against Preston. He went on to score two goals in the final when they drew 2-2 with Leyton Orient, before Rotherham won the resulting penalty shootout. Revell’s second goal had been a spectacular effort from 40 yards out.

In January 2015 Revell  joined Cardiff City for a £400,000 fee. At the time Evans told the Rotherham Advertiser that:

“Without Alex I couldn’t have been a Championship Manager, not just because of his two goals at Wembley but his performances all the way through the last season. During my time here there has only been about two or three occasions when he’s not played when not injured. The greatest tribute I can give him is that the highlights he has given me as a manager will be in my thoughts on my deathbed – and I can’t say that about many players. He’s been stunning and he’s a great individual and pro off and on the pitch.”

On signing for Cardiff,  Revell was rejoining Russell Slade who had been his manager at Leyton Orient. However, he has had a hard time at the Welsh club, scoring just two goals in 15 starts and 10 appearances off the bench.

In order to learn more about Revell’s time at Cardiff we have once more reached out to Benjamin James of the View from the Ninian site (@ViewFromTheNin).

Here’s over to Ben:

Alex Revell kind of looks like a footballer in as much as he has the boots and plays professionally for Cardiff. I don’t want to be too harsh on him but I have spent the best part of ten months bemoaning his lack of ability. He’s never been a prolific striker and when Slade signed him, it was clear he was never going to anything other than a back-up to Jones.

Due to our lack of options this season, he has started more games than I thought he would but he’s never made a big impact. A big man up top, he seems to struggle to win headers. A willing runner who rarely threatens the goal, he’s only managed a couple in his time at Cardiff – one was a spectacular one at Brentford last year and he does seem to have the odd belter in his locker.

It’s an odd departure for us; another striker of ours has just been ruled out for six weeks and Revell leaving means Jones and Mason are only out and out strikers who aren’t injured or on loan. Either Slade is signing someone else or Revell is so poorly thought of, it doesn’t matter if he stays or not.

Saying this, he’ll probably smash them in for you lot. I’ll just be very, very surprised if he does. 

 

 

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Haris Vučkić – a Rotherham fan’s view

The 23 year old Slovenian Haris Vuckic has signed for Wigan Athletic on a one year loan from Newcastle United that will include any potential play-off games. He had recently signed a new contract for the Geordies.

The 6 ft 1 in tall Vuckic is a talented player, with a good left foot, who can play in a variety of attacking positions.He has represented Slovenia at all age levels, including  a senior debut against Scotland in February 2012. Vuckic is set to play an important part in Latics’ bid for promotion.

On signing Vuckic Gary Caldwell said: “Haris had a great season on loan at Rangers last season and he is a quality addition to our forward line, a creative player with an eye for goal.Newcastle rate him highly but he needs to keep progressing and is looking to play as regularly as possible. We are delighted he has chosen Wigan Athletic.

Haris Vučkić was born in the Slovenian capital, Ljubljana, but played for NK Domžale, some 9 miles away. Vuckic made his debut for NK in the Slovenian PrvaLiga when still only 15 years old, leading the club to be fined for fielding an underage player. On reaching his sixteenth birthday some three months later he went on to play another four games for NK before being signed by Newcastle.

Vuckic was soon to make his mark in Newcastle’s under-18 and reserve sides. He made his senior debut as a late substitute in a League Cup match in August 2009, less than a week after turning 17.  A few days later he made his league debut in a similar fashion against Leicester City. However,he was unable to gain a regular first team spot, his appearances being in pre-season games and the League Cup. He was to make his Premier League debut as a substitute in August 2011, with a  starting debut against West Bromwich Albion in December 2011.

In February 2012 he went on a one month loan to Cardiff City, making 5 appearances and scoring one goal. In late November 2013 Vuckic joined Rotherham United on a one month loan that was to be extended until the end of the season. He made 22 appearances for the Millers, including their victorious play-off final against Leyton Orient, scoring four goals during his stay.

In February 2014 Vuckic was one of five Newcastle players who joined Rangers on loan. He was to score 9 goals in 16 appearances for the Ibrox club.

Vuckic made 20 appearances for Newcastle in all competitions, scoring one goal.

In order to learn more about Vuckic’s time at Rotherham we reached out to It’s Millers Time @millerstimerufc).

Here’s over to them:

Vuckic has good experience of League One having spent more than half the season on loan at Rotherham in 2013/14.

At the time, he was a bit raw and untested and was used mainly as a substitute by boss Steve Evans, but he did make an impact.

He can play as an out-and-out striker, in a target man role, is comfortable playing behind the main striker and can also be employed on the left. He is tall, has good aerial ability, but also can run with the ball and beat men.

 

A Cardiff fan’s view of Kevin McNaughton

Soccer - Pre Season Friendly - Cardiff CIty v Celtic - Cardiff City Stadium

It has been announced that  32 year old Kevin McNaughton has signed for Wigan Athletic on a one year contract, following a trial period at the club.

Given the youthful nature of his squad Gary Caldwell will be looking for some more experience and McNaughton can certainly provide it, having played more than 450 games in his career. McNaughton made his debut for Latics in the pre-season match at Southport and subsequently played against Dundee and Blackburn Rovers.

The 5 ft 10 in McNaughton was born in Dundee, but came up through the Aberdeen youth system. He made his debut for the Dons as an 18 year old and was to make 175 appearances over 5 seasons.

McNaughton signed for Cardiff City in summer 2006 and manager Dave Jones used him regularly as a left back in the 2006-07 season. The following season saw him switched to right back and he played in all six matches in Cardiff’s run to the 2008 FA Cup final. His following season was dogged by injury but he reclaimed his place in the 2010-11 season when he was voted Player of the Year.

In September 2013 McNaughton went on loan to Bolton Wanderers, making 13 appearances during a three month stay. He went back to Cardiff in January and played in a handful of Premier League games by the end of the season.  Last season saw McNaughton return to Bolton on loan, where he made 8 appearances. He had made 254 appearances for Cardiff before being released this summer.

In order to learn more about McNaughton’s time at Cardiff we reached out to Benjamin James of the View from the Ninian fan site.

Here’s over to Ben:

What to say about Kevin McNaughton?

A player who most, if not all Cardiff fans, would have gladly kept. A player who came in unheralded and went on to become one of the most revered players of recent times. The very definition of a club legend.

The image of him on the pitch after our promotion to the Premier League is iconic – he, out of all those players in the squad, deserved it more than most. Near misses and play-off disappointments were felt most by him.

It looked as if for all the years he had given us, he was going to miss out on some Premier League action; a loan to Bolton looked to signal the end of his career at Cardiff City. But he returned and I was so happy that he got to play in the Prem for us.

Wigan have signed a player who will build an incredible rapport with the fans. You’ve signed a player who will leave it all on the pitch. You’ve signed a player who will be invaluable to the dressing room – if you want someone to dress up as Dangermouse, he will be the first to do it.

I’ve seen him knock himself out in consecutive games, take out lino’s in his quest to get to the ball and outpace the quickest of players.

I can’t think of a bad word to say about him and I know I’m not alone in this. In an ideal world, Kev would have seen out his career with us. He became a true fan favourite in his nine years with the club and he will be missed.

He’s played all across the back four and even in midfield at points. He’s seen the best of times and some of the worst yet he’s stayed as consistent as ever. I really hope he succeeds at Wigan and Wigan succeed with him – he deserves nothing less.  

Latics in a quagmire

Mud

Rugby League has never really appealed to me. In my pre-adolescent days Wigan RLFC used to have a good deal for kids. You could go and watch the famous Cherry and Whites for threepence in the ‘hen pen’ behind the goals. I did it twice, once when they beat Hull and finally when Ryan Giggs’ father, Danny Wilson, inspired Salford to victory there.

Central Park was just five minutes’ walk from where I lived, right next to the town centre. So when my dad asked me if I would like to make the longer crosstown walk over to Springfield Park on a rainy day I had to think twice about it. But from the moment I watched Latics that first time, as an eleven year old, there was no way I was going back to the hen pen.

I have maintained little interest in watching the local rugby team playing a sport that I have rarely found entertaining. But on Saturday I tuned into the second half of the World Club Challenge game between the Warriors and the Brisbane Broncos. The commentators were waxing lyrically about what a good game it was, but all I could see was the Warriors penned into their own half, unable to move forward on a quagmire of a pitch. It was dull stuff until they surprisingly broke away from their own half and equalized near the end of the game. By that time the pitch was totally ruined, so a little bit more punishment caused by the game going into extra time was not going to make that much difference.

It is the first rugby league game I have watched for ten years and a similar time period could elapse before I watch another. The pitch clearly made things difficult for both teams. It made me wonder if the Warriors would have been able to hold the Broncos to such a tight margin if the pitch had been better. Then my thoughts turned to the Cardiff match. Could it be that the quagmire pitch might actually help Latics?

The term ‘quagmire’ can be used to describe not only the DW Stadium pitch, but also the current plight of Wigan Athletic. They are stuck in a quagmire in their fight to avoid relegation. Most of the more skilful players in the squad have deserted a sinking ship and the manager has the most unenviable record in the Football League of W2 D3 L10. Moreover Malky Mackay’s plans have been hit by long term injuries to Emyr Huws, Chris Herd and Leon Clarke, plus a two week absence for William Kvist who has been the team’s most consistent performer over recent weeks. Having shipped the likes of Delort, Kiernan, Riera and Tavernier off on loan he is left with a squad that is starting to look threadbare.

Mackay and Latics are certainly in a quagmire and there appears no way out of it. The manager has dismantled the old squad, brought in new players, but performances continue to be well below par. Latics have got worse, not better, during Mackay’s tenure. Dave Whelan is back in town and clearly worried about results. If Latics do not beat Cardiff tonight will he be showing Mackay the door?

Cardiff City’s form has also slumped over the past couple of months, so Latics will face another side low on confidence like themselves. It would appear to be a real opportunity to pick up three precious points, but over recent weeks Latics have thrown away games against teams in similar situations. The home defeats to struggling Rotherham and Charlton sides were a bitter pill to swallow. But can they actually win tonight playing on that quagmire of a pitch?

The critics would say that good football has not been evident since Mackay’s arrival, with goals from set pieces the order of the day. The pitch could stifle any attacking moves from the opposition and a goal from a set piece could win it. Mackay will rue the absence of Kvist, with his long throw-ins.

It is likely to be a grim night for lovers of good football tonight at the DW Stadium. But it is the result that is paramount. A win for Latics would provide at least a ray of hope for the future. Less than that will surely bog them down even more in the quagmire that Mackay finds himself in.