Positivity is the key: Sean Morrison outlines Cardiff City's promotion hopes
Cardiff City's Sean Morrison is presented with the Man of the Match Award following his side's victory over Swansea City /  Photo by Cardiff City FC/Getty Images

For Cardiff City, the 2020/21 campaign was underlined by turbulence, frustration and inconsistency. 

Still dealing with the heart-churning repercussions of play-off defeat - where they lost out to eventual winners Fulham at the semi-final stage - the Bluebirds failed to gain their rhythm and found themselves closer to the relegation places than the promotion pack at the mid-way stage.

However, Mick McCarthy sought to re-energise the squad, and though they were unable to make the top six, there was certainly a more positive aura following his arrival at the Cardiff City Stadium.

They had even embarked on a six-match winning run, which had briefly  injected optimism and hope into Cardiff supporters.

Now, Cardiff are desperate to maintain the momentum they constructed at the back-end of last season and staple a real promotion push, having achieved second place in the 2017/18 term under vaunted veteran Neil Warnock.

However, Morrison's brave admissions largely stem from one fact, and one fact only; Cardiff own arguably the most feared hitman across the division in Kieffer Moore.

In his opening year at the club, Moore lit up the Welsh capital with an outlay of 20 goals, subsequently becoming the first Bluebird to hit that benchmark since the late, great Peter Whittingham all the way back in the 2009/10 season.

His all-round game also delved into realms beyond the art of goalscoring, as his physicality and smoothness on the ball allowed Cardiff to insert a much-needed dynamic into their frontline. 

Moore currently finds himself returning from the European Championships, where he valiantly led the line for Wales and saw his efforts rewarded with a magnificent header against Switzerland in their opening encounter.

If Moore can maintain the confidence gained from his exploits over the last twelve months, there is no doubting he will strike gold in the final third and continue to help Cardiff up the table, as he did on so many occasions last year.

Morrison is an advocate to that belief and insists that a place at the top of the tree is certainly attainable for the club when spearheaded by one of the league's most potent forwards.

Morrison's assessment

"I don't see why not," explained the 30-year-old when asked if Cardiff can achieve automatic promotion this term.

"We have got one, if not the best striker in the league, in my opinion and a lot of people's opinion.

"Kieffer showed what he can do last year and probably half the season he was struggling with injuries. He had a fantastic Euros and is high on confidence. He's going to be huge for us this year.”

He also feels that Cardiff possess a balanced squad and have struck the chord of blending youthful endeavour with senior pros.

A whole host of younger players are beginning to enter the first-team fold while more experienced operators such as Morrison, Aden Flint, Joe Ralls and Marlon Pack continue to assert their leadership and crucial know-how.

"We have a fairly young squad, a lot of players coming through, but if we can mix that balance with the experienced heads in the squad, I think we'll have a really good chance," he added.

However, Morrison endured a disappointing end to last year as he missed seven of the last eight games with a calf injury, followed up by a dislocated shoulder.

The Bluebirds warhorse is imperative to the solidity and composure that Cardiff defend with; he organises the backline and instils a confident, yet ruthless  verve that is sorely felt in his absence.

He is approaching his eighth season as a City player, yet, after all the service he has pledged, his figure remains just as integral as it always has done.

Morrison is no doubt among Cardiff's most important members and supporters were left shaking over his fitness heading into the new campaign, and though he admits he is not 100 per cent fit, he has extinguished any fears he would be missing their opening encounter.

"I don't think I am 100 percent, but I don't think I have been able to say I was 100 percent fit in the last ten years," Morrison continued.

"I had a bit of an annoying end to the season last year, coming back from a calf injury and then first game back, fracturing and dislocating my elbow.

"Then I picked up a little calf strain in pre-season, but I still managed to do a lot of work. My game-time is down, there is no hiding from that, but it was nice to play 60 minutes at the weekend [against Newport County].

"I have a few weeks' training in me. I feel good and ready to go. It's up to the manager whether he puts me in for the first game or not."

’Astute’ business in the transfer window

Meanwhile, Cardiff have been relatively busy in the transfer window, welcoming four fresh faces in Mark McGuinness, Ryan Wintle and James Collins on permanent deals.

He has been impressed with the business that McCarthy has conducted and believes bolstering a variety of positions of need will only bode well for the club ahead of a potential promotion bid.

"I think the new signings, especially in the circumstances with Covid and financially all clubs are struggling, the gaffer has looked down the league and seen what's out there. He has made some really astute signings," explained Morrison.

Yet, the loan signing of Wolverhampton Wanderers wide man Ryan Giles has truly dazzled Morrison - and City supporters feel very much aligned with the skipper following the new recruit's enthralling pre-season performances.

In the intensive build-up to the upcoming campaign, Giles' presence up and down the left flank has provided the fuel and dynamism to City's attacking plays. His speed allows them to act quick in transition and stretch defences, whereas his creativity and crossing ability has also come to fruition.

One would expect that Morrison, Flint and Moore - all individuals who thrive from deliveries into the area - will reap the rewards of having such a proficient crosser in the squad come the new season.

He said: "I think Gilo from Wolves on loan is going to be a fantastic player for us. He is young, energetic, has pace and can play in a few different positions."

"We've got the makings of a really, really good squad here. We just need to stick together over a long, hard season, do our best and see where it takes us."