Preston 0-1 Cardiff: Sheyi Ojo's goal gives Bluebirds victory

Preston 0-1 Cardiff: Sheyi Ojo’s goal gives Bluebirds victory at Deepdale and move Neil Harris’s men up SIX places to 12th in the league

  • Preston took on Cardiff in the SkyBet Championship at Deepdale this afternoon
  • Both sides had similar start to the season but it was Cardiff to were victorious
  • Preston have now dropped down to 18th and Cardiff move up six places to 12th  

Cardiff City were one of the more vocal clubs at a Championship meeting last Thursday, laying their troubling financial state on thick, detailing significant seven-figure monthly losses. They are not the only team struggling at the moment, of course, and in need of fiscal aid.

The EFL have been attempting to pull together recently. Rivals nodded in agreement as they hope for a package formulated by the government and Premier League, although that turned to resigned amusement and a little indignation 24 hours later.

Harry Wilson made his way to south Wales on a season-long loan from Liverpool and eyebrows were raised. Cardiff beat a fair few to his signature, the Bluebirds paying a large proportion, if not all, of Wilson’s £60,000-a-week wages. Coupled with that, the loan fee could stretch way in excess of the initial £1million if certain clauses are triggered.

Liverpool loanee Sheyi Ojo (left) bagged Cardiff ‘s winner in the 52nd minute of the game

Thanks to Ojo, the result will see Neil Harris’s men move up places to 12th in the league

While the result will see Preston dropped down to 18th place in the SkyBet Championship

So those in competition with Cardiff believe they have reason to smile wryly. Even during this pandemic, some things never change, and the arm’s race to the Premier League still exists. The gambles, calculated or otherwise, continue.

‘I could not believe we had a chance of bringing him in,’ Cardiff manager Neil Harris said. ‘He is a Premier League player. We never thought he would be available. It became a real-last minute one and then a scramble amongst us and about 10 other clubs.

‘I will never take a player who hasn’t got a real desire to play for the club. Ultimately he wanted to come to Cardiff City, to play in the capital of Wales, to capture the imagination of the Welsh public and the eye of Ryan Giggs. He thinks this is his best avenue to get into the Premier League.’

Neil Harris shared his delight at signing Harry Wilson from Liverpool on loan after the game

He said Wilson has a ‘desire to play for the club’ and is looking to catch the eye of Ryan Giggs

That started just before the half-hour at Deepdale, Harris calling for Wilson from the bench after Greg Cunningham went down injured. His debut was positive, giving Cardiff more control in scrappy affair they eventually won.

Sheyi Ojo – another loanee from Liverpool – delivered the decisive blow seven minutes after half-time. Kieffer Moore, a £2m signing from Wigan Athletic, battled free of Preston challenges on the break, laying right for Ojo and the winger lashed into Declan Rudd’s top left-hand corner.

Preston created opportunities, Sean Maguire perhaps with the most presentable when he forced Alex Smithies into a smart stop on the turn before substitute Jayden Stockley’s late header was straight at the Cardiff goalkeeper. ‘We got into good situations but it’s finding the guile to create that chance,’ said Preston’s Alex Neil. ‘I don’t think Cardiff are far better than us. There was nothing in it.’

A promotion push looks unlikely for North End, whose main bit of recent business is the purchase of Wigan’s old Euxton training ground. They have only just moved in from the old site at Springfields, with the overall outlay at around £2m and seen as a Big Picture investment for the future of the club.

The Cardiff board have made no secret of their displeasure at one win from the first four games

Mehmet Dalman said the board will be disappointed if they’re ‘not in the top six by January’

Cardiff have the infrastructure already in place and this was certainly an afternoon that Harris required. His chairman, Mehmet Dalman, made no secret of the board’s displeasure at one win from the first four matches of the season before this. 

‘We’d be very disappointed with this team if we’re not in the top six by January,’ he said. ‘Let’s not be diplomatic about our start. I’m just hoping the team will gel better than they have done in the past.’

No pressure, then. ‘We’ve made six signings and only played five games so it’s going to take time for the players to fit in with us,’ Harris added. ‘On paper it looks great business, but we have to make sure it is good business on the pitch.’ 

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