Since Neil Warnock took over as manager of Cardiff City, the Welsh club have enjoyed a huge turnaround in fortune and have shot right up the table.
Is this a coincidence or is Neil Warnock once again proving his managerial expertise at this level?
Well, of course it’s the latter.
Let’s be bluntly honest: he is not working with one of the better squads in the Championship.
When he inherited the side from Paul Trollope, he was clearly dissatisfied with his options – evidenced by the quadruple signing of free agents Sol Bamba, Junior Hoilett, Marouane Chamakh and Kieran Richardson less than a week after he took charge (the latter two have since been released but Bamba and Hoilett are regular first team members).
In January, he had no money to work with.
He was told to sell in order to strengthen his squad.
Warnock generated some money by releasing Chamakh, Richardson and Immers and he also got rid of a few fringe players like Tommy O’Sullivan.
With this money he brought in Greg Halford (unremarkable but priceless experience) and Allan McGregor (arriving on loan from Hull and undoubtedly strengthening their goalkeeper options).
This is not the type of January that Warnock would have hoped for.
Nevertheless, he has instilled a new ethic in his tight-knit squad and that is a message of hard work, dedication and grit.
Cardiff are not pretty to watch by any stretch of the imagination but Neil Warnock gets the job done.
Just look at the job he has done.
He took over from Paul Trollope with the club deeply mired in a relegation battle.
They are now in the top half!
Cardiff are just five points behind Derby County, who are supposedly play-off contenders.
Yet Warnock does not get the praise he deserves; probably because of his unadventurous and ugly-but-effective style of play.
However, I maintain that the job that Neil Warnock is doing at Cardiff should not be understated and he should be a genuine contender for the Championship manager of the year award.
Cardiff fans – what do you make of this? Is Warnock’s good work going unnoticed? Should he get more recognition? Just how good a job has he really done for you? Let us know what you think in the comments below…