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Cardiff V Everton at Cardiff City Stadium : Match Preview

30 Aug 2013 15:01:18

Cardiff V Everton at Cardiff City Stadium : Match Preview

Cardiff V Everton - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.


Transfer talk 'not a distraction'

Cardiff manager Malky Mackay does not believe speculation over the futures of Marouane Fellaini and Leighton Baines will be a distraction for Saturday's visitors Everton.


Manchester United are pursuing the Toffees duo, and are thought to be set to launch another bid to reunite them with former Goodison Park boss David Moyes.


With just a few days of the transfer window remaining, and a quick resolution needed as to whether Fellaini or Baines leave or not, Toffees boss Roberto Martinez will take his side to Cardiff City Stadium looking for their first win under his stewardship.


But Mackay does not believe the former Swansea manager, who can expect a hostile reception from the Bluebirds' faithful, will have been distracted by the furore over two of his key players.


He said: "I think every club at the moment is getting used to speculation around its players.


"We've had a lot of it concerning players we want to bring in.


"But I know Roberto Martinez really well and he will be totally professional and have his team focused on the game.


"There has been a lot of speculation surrounding his players, but I'm sure the professionalism of Roberto, his players and his coaching staff will mean all focus will be on us and not what surrounds his football club."


Cardiff, who will be without injured striker Andreas Cornelius, face the Merseysiders on the back of their stunning 3-2 triumph over Manchester City.


The win ranks as arguably the most famous in the club's history, but Mackay and defender Matthew Connolly both know they must move on and refocus.


The former said: "It was a major shock for us to beat Manchester City, but it gives us belief that we can compete at this level.


"We realise what a tough game Everton will be, we know it wasn't a one-off cup final last week, it is part of a whole season and my focus is on consistency."


Full-back Connolly added: "We have got to look at the larger picture and it is time to move on now.


"I haven't seen much about Everton. We know they are a good team and it will be a really tough, physical game.


"We are not going to play like we did against Manchester City every week, even though we will try our best.


"But when you go up, if you get a result against any of the top four or six teams you have got to see it as a bonus, as the main thing is to beat the teams around you."


Martinez knows he is guaranteed a welcome in Wales - but he is not convinced it will be a good one.


The Everton boss spent three years as a player and then his first two in management at Swansea, where he made a huge impression before moving on to Wigan and then, this summer, Goodison Park.


That spell at the Liberty Stadium marks him out for attention from the Cardiff supporters when Everton head south. And the 40-year-old is not convinced it will be friendly.


"I had a really good time in south Wales," he said.


"I will get a welcome - I'm just not sure what it will be."


Everton have stuttered as they adjust to Martinez's demand for his team to persevere with a passing game at all times.


Saturday's goalless draw with West Brom was met with grumbles by some supporters, who argued the Toffeemen were passing the ball for the sake of it, a complaint often heard at Wigan down the years.


Martinez will not be swayed, though. And he insists there are plenty of positive signs to pick out.


"I have been really impressed in the way we have been so stubborn in terms of what we are trying to do," he said.


"That is a difficult strength to show when you are trying to impose change or do things differently.


"We have been creating a lot of chances but at the moment we need too many to score goals. Now we need to focus on the final third."


Darron Gibson (knee) and Antolin Alcaraz (hamstring) have returned to training for Everton but are not expected to be involved.



PA

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