Here are your Cardiff City headlines for Monday, March 14.
Gavin Rae: Ramsey could be the title difference for Rangers
Former Bluebird Gavin Rae thought Cardiff City product Aaron Ramsey would be the player to make the difference for Rangers in the Scottish title race.
While Ramsey’s injury woes since joining the Glasgow club in January have been well documented, Rae, who played for Cardiff between 2007 and 2011, thinks Ramsey still has a massive part to play this term.
“When I saw Rangers had signed him – I thought ‘that’s a huge signing’,” he told the Scottish Daily Express. “He’s got so much talent and if he can stay fit he can have a huge influence for Rangers.
“He can be the difference between them winning the title or not. He can create goals, he can score goals – we’ve all seen the job he does for Wales and he’s a real leader too.
“Aaron will be a game-changer for Rangers, 100 per cent.”
Ramsey obviously burst on to the seen as a 16-year-old at Cardiff and Rae, who was the Wales star’s room-mate at the time, recalled the player bursting on to the scene.
“He was the best young player I have ever seen – no-one has come close. Once he got used to training with the first team every day, he ended up running training!” he added.
“He was strong, quick, could finish with either foot but the biggest thing that separated him from other kids was his mentality.
“He was not fazed in the slightest. He was super confident and also a really chilled out guy.
“I remember he came on at right-back at Wembley in our FA Cup semi-final against Barnsley after Kevin McNaughton got injured.
“I don’t think he had ever played there in his life. He was like Cafu – he was doing step-overs, motoring up and down the pitch.
“He had no fear and that’s what separates him from ordinary players. He really was phenomenal at that time.
“So if he stays fit now he will be massive for Rangers in the vital phase of the season.”
Rangers are currently three points behind Celtic.
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Denham pens new deal
Exciting young defender Oliver Denham has signed a new deal with Cardiff City, extending his stay with the club until June 2024.
The youngster, who was signed from Manchester United 18 months ago, featured in the FA Cup glamour tie with Liverpool at Anfield and put in a stellar display.
He has featured in Cardiff’s matchday squads ever since and has now been rewarded with a contract for another two seasons.
“I’m very happy,” Denham said after signing the deal. “It shows all of the hard work since I’ve been here has paid off.
“I’m still a young lad and I know I still need to develop. I’m learning every day.
“I’m really excited for the future.”
On that Liverpool game, he added: “It was brilliant. I only found out an hour and a half before the game, so I was just trying to get my head around that as quickly as possible.
“Then playing how I played was a massive bonus for me.
“Then, the next game, the messages of support from people and the fans meant everything to me.”
Denham, 19, knows both Steve Morison and Tom Ramasut from his time working with them in the under-23s and believes that has helped his transition into the first team.
“They’ve been brilliant with me,” he said of the coaches. “Having the gaffer and Rammers as the first-team coaches really helped the transition, because I already knew them well. I already had a relationship with them and I knew what they wanted from me.
“So it was just about translating that to the first team from the under-23s. Having them there really helped me with it.”
Cardiff trio picked for Wales u18s
Joel Colwill, Cian Ashford and James Crole have all been selected for Wales under-18s.
The young Wales side take on Finland at Colliers Park in Wrexham on March 25 and March 28 – a double header.
Twenty players have been selected for the clashes later this month and City’s attacking trio are all included.
Colwill is, of course, the younger brother of first-team star Rubin, while Crole has been banging the goals in for Cardiff’s under-18s and even the under-23s in recent times.
Ashford is a playmaker whom the club are particularly excited about, too.
Good luck to all three!
Northern Ireland duo called up
Cardiff City duo Gavin Whyte and Ciaron Brown have both been called up to the Northern Ireland squad for this month’s international friendly.
The pair, both of whom are on loan at Oxford United in League One, will link up with their compatriots for the trip to Luxembourg on March 25 before a home tie with Hungary on March 29.
The U’s have a game against Morecambe on March 26, however it is likely that match will be postponed with more international call-ups for both sets of players expected in the coming days.
Whyte has 21 caps for Northern Ireland while Brown has featured seven times for his country.
James Connolly impresses again
James Connolly has been an everpresent for Bristol Rovers since he joined the Gas in January, playing 12 consecutive games as Joey Barton’s men shot up the League Two table.
The 20-year-old captained Cardiff’s under-23s before making the mid-season move to Rovers and it is easy to see why those in the Bluebirds academy thought so highly of him, given his excellent start to life in senior football.
Barton is clearly an admirer and if you take one look at our sister title, BristolLive, his player ratings are consistently high.
After Rovers’ 3-0 win over Harrogate Town at the weekend, meaning they are now just three points off second place, BristolLive handed Connolly an eight out of 10 in their ratings.
They said of his display: “Did not put a foot wrong on the ball other than a rare errant pass that spoiled the Gasheads’ oles with Rovers dominating possession at 3-0 up.”
One potentially out of left field who is sticking his hand up for involvement at Cardiff next term.
Read the full list of how the loanees are faring here.