Match Report: Fraizer Campbell up to speed as Cardiff stay on course
Cardiff City 2 Bristol City 1
cardiff city stadium
Sunday 17 February 2013
Malky Mackay, the Cardiff manager, witnessed Fraizer Campbell grab a fine pair of goals for his runaway Championship leaders before predicting that the England striker can get even better as the promotion race draws to a climax.
Campbell, who cost the Welsh club £650,000 from Sunderland during the January transfer window, increased his tally to three goals in as many games to brush aside relegation-threatened Bristol City.
But Mackay believes the one-cap England forward, whose stop-start career has been plagued by two serious knee injuries, will become sharper in the coming weeks, an ominous prospect for opposition defences in this division.
"I'm delighted with what Fraizer has done for us," Mackay said, "but he can do more. He hasn't played a lot of football in the last nine months and that's why I brought him off.
"We are working on him to get match-fit. I'm delighted with everything about him. He has a lack of ego and has settled in so well. All he needs to do now is get up to speed with the rest of the lads."
Campbell's strikes either side of half-time fired Cardiff closer to their Premier League dream, but up until his 45th-minute opener, City's ex-Cardiff goalkeeper Tom Heaton had made several fine saves on his first return to the Welsh capital since his summer switch. Yet the Manchester United trainee could do nothing to prevent his former Old Trafford team-mate from breaking the deadlock on the stroke of the interval.
Campbell, who scored on his Cardiff debut at Leeds a fortnight ago, latched on to Tommy Smith's cute pass and beat Heaton with the outside of his right boot. Then the livewire Campbell reacted quickest to Aron Gunnarsson's long throw in the 58th minute to double Cardiff's advantage.
Mackay's men looked set to ease towards a 13th home win of the season, but the promising defender Ben Nugent's injury-time own goal following confusion with his goalkeeper, David Marshall, set up a grandstand finish.
Yet Cardiff clung on for another valuable three points in their race for promotion, and on this evidence Campbell, who also helped Hull win promotion during a loan spell on Humberside in 2008, is proving to be a shrewd piece of business on the part of Mackay.
Bristol City remain rooted in the relegation zone ahead of another tough trip to Crystal Palace on Tuesday night. "Cardiff caused us problems with their pace and inter-changing up front," the Robins' boss, Sean O'Driscoll, said. "But I couldn't fault the attitude and commitment of my team. We still believe we are good enough to stay up and the players have to keep thinking that."
Cardiff (4-4-2): Marshall; Connolly, Hudson, Nugent, Taylor; Smith (Cowie, 64), Gunnarsson, Whittingham, Noone (Kim, 84); Campbell (Helguson, 73), Bellamy.
Bristol City (4-4-2): Heaton; Foster, Fontaine, Nyatanga, Moloney; Anderson (Adomah, 64), Kelly (Kilkenny, 80), Elliott, Pearson (Howard, 80); Davies, Stead.
Referee Eddie Ilderton.
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