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Warnock doesn’t see Cardiff City fighting it out with Championship big-spenders for automatic promotion

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Neil Warnock says he doesn’t see his team fighting it out with the Championship’s big-spenders for automatic promotion.

The veteran has managed yet another fine season in the Championship so far with his Cardiff City team sitting pretty in third place, with a game in hand over second placed Derby.

However, despite their position, Neil Warnock still thinks those below them have a better chance of finishing in the top two come May.

The likes of Derby, Aston Villa and Fulham have all spend a lot more than Cardiff and that makes them favourites, according to Warnock.

“Wolves have got the points on board so it’s difficult to see how they will slip up, but look at the resources and the wages of Villa, Derby even Fulham, they should be leap years away.

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“There’s two places up for grabs with the playoffs, we have to make sure we’re one. We’re not going to say we’re not going for it, but we have to be philosophical when you look at their squads and the changes they can make.

“I think it will be them three but you never know in this game. It would be lovely to be top two – we can have extra few weeks off and we have spoken about that.”

The Bluebirds head into Friday’s clash with Millwall having rediscovered a patch of form, following a major dip over Christmas.

Warnock has added new faces to the group and a number of key players have also returned from injury – there are still some to come back.

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That boost in players has sparked an upturn in results for the Bluebirds and their January dealings could be key, according to the Bluebirds’ boss. He added: “We lost major players for quite a long time in Morrison, Zohore, Gunnarsson and I think we needed an influx of new bodies.

“Even for banter in the dressing room, and we couldn’t rely on poor old Zohore on his own up front for so long so I was pleased to get Madine.

“When we got Marko on loan from Liverpool it released the funds because I was going to spend money on Forshaw so I spent it on one player. They could play together against certain teams and we will look at it at some stage.”

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Cardiff have amassed a reputation of being an overly physical team this season and many of their opponents have been quick to highlight their approach.

Though, Warnock doesn’t agree and he claims the horror challenge from Joe Bennett in the FA Cup defeat to Manchester City enforced a lingering stereotype further.

“If you said Jamie ward and Traore are powerful players I’ll take it as a compliment because neither are. I think we have quite a lot of skill. I think if the Manchester City tackle hadn’t happened there will be nothing.

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“It’s only because the Newcastle-Chelsea game was a damp squib there was nothing else to write about.

“Martin Samuel and Neil Ashton will have a go few times a year but that’s fine. I gave Joe Bennett more stick, you make a tackle like that and I get three days of hell. It’s only right I made him train on the weekend, to put my mind at peace!”

Bennett received abuse on social media following his challenge on Leroy Sane, one that has left the winger sidelined for around six weeks.

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And even the full-back’s manager decided to rub salt in the wounds, calling him out again last week, especially for his second yellow card which saw him miss the trip to Leeds.

However, it seems all is forgiven now and Bennett will be back in the squad to face Millwall after being made to train on his own over the weekend.

“He’s apologised, said it wouldn’t happen again and he’s flying now. It’s not like him. He thought he was taking one for the team, but he’s learned from it and apologised from me and the team.

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“But it shouldn’t take away, look at Man City’s results against others, I thought we did really well. I don’t think it’s playing on his mind – he knows if it does he won’t be playing or I’ll substitute him.

“He made a mistake, held his hand up and got on with it. There’s been a lot worse tackles this year. Berardi’s was worse last week,those are the ones you have to stamp out – that was intentional.”