Cardiff City saw their seven-game unbeaten run come to an end last weekend when they fell to a 4-2 defeat against Slaven Bilic’s high-flying West Brom side.
The Bluebirds had assembled a highly encouraging run of form prior to this, which assuaged concerns over their start to the season which saw them lose two of their first three matches on their return to the second tier.
However, Cardiff’s impressive home form has helped Neil Warnock’s side start to climb the Championship table, and they entered the international break sitting in 11th place despite the West Brom defeat.
There is one man in Cardiff’s squad who has not been involved as he would have liked so far this term, but his recent return from injury has seen him slot seamlessly into Warnock’s midfield set-up.
Marlon Pack joined the South Wales outfit on a season-long loan deal from rivals Bristol City over the summer, and he is now showing signs of picking up where he left off after featuring in every league match for the Robins last term.
Here, we take a closer look at Pack’s time in Cardiff so far…
The 28-year-old was forced off with a leg injury during the first half of Cardiff’s 3-0 defeat away at Reading, but the injury did not turn out to be as bad as first feared and Pack was eventually only ruled out for five matches.
However, this has still restricted his playing time so far this term which has seen him only register 383 minutes on the pitch during Cardiff’s opening 11 games of the season, but he has played every minute of their last three outings.
Pack has looked like an assured figure in the centre of the park and looks capable of playing a variety of different roles within the midfield alongside the likes of Leandro Bacuna and Joe Ralls.
He has also already proven his ability to provide goals from midfield as his strike during the 3-0 victory over QPR demonstrated how he is able to make significant contributions to both defence and attack in this Cardiff side.
Pack has recorded 74.3% passing accuracy during his five appearances for the club so far and while this does not appear very impressive, it should be considered that Warnock does not exactly set his side up as a possession-based team.
Cardiff should not be referred to as a team that depends solely on long balls, but they are certainly an aspect of the way Warnock likes his side to play. Pack has shown how he can play an integral part in this with the 5 long balls he has so far been averaging per game.
Pack’s defensive efforts should also be commended as he has made 1.6 tackles per game in addition to winning three aerial duels per game during his time in Warnock’s midfield, with these statistics revealing how far his abilities extend.
These figures reveal that Pack is capable of contributing to Cardiff’s game play in a variety of ways, and it is clear to see why Warnock has taken a liking to the former Bristol City captain so far this term.