CARDIFF CITY have been considered for many years by people within the game as one of the 'sleeping giants' of football.
With the sad recent demise of Swansea City, they have taken over the mantle as the club in Wales most likely to succeed.
Since supported by the Sam Hamman's money and acumen and the shrewd Lennie Lawrence driving the ship they look on an upward curve.
We have watched then several times as Glenn leaves nothing to chance. In that period they have been on a real winning run.
I happened to see them at Notts County last week and although the goalkeeper, Alexander, was not particularly tested he looked adequate. At full-back, Weston at right-back got forward when the opportunity presented itself, Cardiff playing narrow on that side, with the right-sided midfielder Boland, playing slightly in field.
On the left-hand side, Andy Legg will shock spectators with the mammothness of his throws. From the half-way line he can easily reach the penalty area and from wide areas or near the corner flag he will get a throw to the far post at best and near post at worst. This is a weapon Cardiff use but not moronically. Andy Legg has had a chequered career but is now enjoying a good spell of football irrespective of the sight of those long balls being hurled into the box.
It is in midfield where they have a quality beyond their division. Kavanagh, who came to the club for a lot of money from Middlesbrough, is a footballer who looks older than his years with his grey hair but can certainly pass the ball and make the play. Alongside Kavanagh is Gareth Whalley, the ex-Crewe player, always lacking in pace but a very good footballer. Many good judges felt that in the Lennon-Whalley midfield it was Whally who would go on and hit the big time. As it happens, the industry of Lennon proved crucial, not that Whalley is a slouch when it comes to work. He is a good footballer with a left foot which has quality.
At the back, Spencer Prior has had many clubs in a short period of time but is very strong with any balls coming down the middle without imagination. We have to get the ball down and play football around the centre-backs. Alongside Prior is an interesting player in Gabbidon, who was at West Brom when John Gorman was there. This player is quick, likes to pass the ball early and has good spring. Many are touting him for as very big future and it will be fascinating to see how he copes with our 'more illustrious' players.
At left-back, Gary Croft has been at Ipswich, Blackburn Rovers and Grimsby Town so we will expect him not to be overawed.
It is up front where Cardiff are a threat. Centre forward Peter Thorne came from Stoke, good goalscoring record, on the bench a taller, stronger player in Fortune-West, another with a good record, but it is the pace carried by Earnshaw (pictured above) that is the threat, a sharp player who made an outstanding debut for Wales against Germany. If Earnshaw isn't doing the business, they can call on the rapid Campbell, who came on at Notts County for the last 10 minutes and looked quite exciting. He was signed from Middlesbrough for good money. In the last two games Earnshaw has scored late goals to secure victory, so he is one to look out for.
Many years ago I played for Exeter in a League Cup tie here at Tottenham and we lost 6-3. Jimmy Greaves was at his peak. I saw Joe Kinnear the other day and he reminded me of the game because evidently he marked me. I can't remember how Joe played but I know I had quite a good game that night but Greaves and co were too good for little Exeter. The occasion was so great though that our players, rather than freezing at White Hart Lane, rose to the occasion, gave a very good account of ourselves and all our supporters had a wonderful evening. I think Cardiff will have that mentality, particularly buoyed by the fact that they have played well recently and have a winning mentality.
It will be a good night, I'm sure, and bring back many happy memories for Sam Hamman and Lennie Lawrence, who I call the Alex Ferguson of the lower leagues.
Someone once described me as a 'Harry Houdini' for helping Luton stay up for about seven years but I have to say Lennie's record in helping clubs survive eclipses almost everybody. He is a great philosopher, very steady, doesn't get too low in defeat and never too elated in victory. I think he is an ideal style manager for a club who needs someone shrewd and experienced at the helm.
Tuesday night should be ours but we must not under-estimate our opponents.
Our director of football David Pleat takes an in-depth look at tonight's Worthington Cup opponents Cardiff City.