Cardiff V West Brom at Cardiff City Stadium : Match Preview

13 December 2013 08:01
Cardiff V West Brom - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.

Mackay praises Odemwingie

Cardiff boss Malky Mackay has described Bluebirds summer recruit Peter Odemwingie as "a joy to work with" ahead of Saturday's clash with the striker's old club West Brom.

Should he play in the Barclays Premier League contest at the Cardiff City Stadium, it will be the first time Odemwingie has come up against his former employers since leaving Albion for the Welsh outfit in the closing stages of the last transfer window.

His stint with the Baggies, which lasted three seasons, turned sour with him driving to QPR on deadline-day in the previous window in a bid to secure a move, only for the deal to fall apart.

But while that incident might have given the impression that the Nigeria international is a troublemaker, Mackay had only positive things to say about Odemwingie on Friday.

Regarding the 32-year-old, who has so far made 12 appearances and scored two goals for Cardiff, Mackay said: "There was a lot of press around Peter concerning that January, in terms of his on-off transfer to QPR.

"He obviously took a lot of stick over that, but I can only speak about the lad that I know.

"I phoned up certain people who played with him and coached him and managed him and they were glowing.

"If they hadn't been, that would have given me cause for concern.

"The boy I have met and I have here is articulate, he speaks four or five different languages, he is intelligent, he has smiled since the day he arrived here and he is very polite too.

"He is a talented footballer and definitely wants to do well for us. He has been a joy to work with and he wants to do the best he can for the club, so it has been a really good one for us.

"We did our homework on him and had he not been the right kind of person, I wouldn't have brought him in."

West Brom boss Steve Clarke concedes his side could be facing a relegation battle.

The Baggies are two points above the Barclays Premier League's bottom three after winning just one of their last nine games and losing the past three in succession.

Clarke, who has overseen just seven Premier League wins from 33 opportunities in 2013, hopes improvement can begin by securing a result from a tricky trip to Cardiff this weekend.

Making the game potentially more difficult is the possibility of facing Odemwingie.

Clarke said: "We are down there anyway, the table tells you that. It is not an issue.

"All I would like to do is get back on an even keel. We have worked hard in training this week.

"Hopefully the performance at the weekend is good enough to get us three points.

"It will look bad if we lose four games in a row, of course it will.

"But that is where we are, that is the situation I am in. There is nothing I can do about it except try to make sure the team is ready to win the game."

Odemwingie has scored just twice for the Bluebirds since and has often had to settle for a place on the bench but Clarke accepts there is a possibility he could return to haunt his club.

Clarke said: "It is possible, it can happen. He is a goalscorer, that is his position.

"So, if he is selected to play for Cardiff we will have to deal with him, the same as we will have to for anyone else they select.

"Former players come back, they play against you. That's what happens.

"People move on in football. Peter has moved on from here and so have we."

Cardiff are a point below West Brom in the table and Clarke expects the game to be a tight contest.

He said: "It is a difficult game.

"I know Malky through association. We have never played together or been at the same club but he's a good man, he has got a good team there.

"They have had some great results at home and some really good performances.

"We expect a tough afternoon, as I'm sure they do.

"I have been down there and it is a good, intimidating atmosphere. They are a good crowd and they get right behind their team.

"But we are experienced enough to know the crowd can't score a goal, can't affect the play on the pitch. So, we go there just looking to put things right."

With another important game against Hull next week, it is undoubtedly a critical time for Clarke.

But Clarke feels the Baggies' chastening spell, in which they suffered losses to Newcastle, Manchester City and Norwich in the space of eight days, is not a true reflection of their ability.

He said: "We had a bad week results-wise but if you look at the performances, at Newcastle we played well and were unlucky to lose to a super strike from (Moussa) Sissoko.

"Man City came and played to their level at moments in the game and were too good for us. You have to take that on the chin.

"But anybody who is honest about the game against Norwich would say we deserved to get something from the game.

"We created chance after chance - 27 chances on goal - over 40 crosses into the box, plenty of opportunities that were missed.

"On another day it could have been a different result.

"But we don't talk too much about bad luck. We talk about working hard to make sure the results turn in our favour."

West Brom could welcome back veteran striker Nicolas Anelka after six weeks out with a groin injury but fellow forward Victor Anichebe is doubtful due to illness.

Source: PA

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