Could Gary Madine be the man to fire Cardiff City back to the Premier League?

Could Gary Madine be the man to fire Cardiff City back to the Premier League?

Last update: 9 February 2018 Tags: Sheffield Wednesday, Carlisle United, Coventry City, Cardiff City, Bolton Wanderers, Blackpool, Championship, Rochdale, Chesterfield, Gary Madine. Categories: Championship.

Deadline Day saw Cardiff City acquire the signature of Bolton Wanderers' talisman and top scorer Gary Madine in a deal estimated to be worth £6m, signing a three-and-a-half-year contract. Here's a look back at Madine's career so far and how he can further Cardiff's hopes of promotion.

Madine began his career at Carlisle United, where he progressed through their youth ranks to establish himself as a first team regular, making his debut impressively aged just 17 in a 1-0 away victory against Nottingham Forest. Madine's first goal came in the following 2008/09 season, scoring the fourth in a 4–1 rout against Yeovil Town. However, due to lack of opportunities Madine was loaned to league two outfits Rochdale and Chesterfield, alongside championship side Coventry City over a two year period, however the spells were largely underwhelming producing a total of zero goals in just 16 games. Madine returned to Carlisle for the 2010/11 campaign, a year in which saw him attract the attention of fellow mid-table league 1 outfit Sheffield Wednesday following his early season form in which he scored 8 goals in 21 league games.

In January 2011 Sheffield Wednesday secured their man, with Madine signing for the club on a four-and-a-half- year contract, for an undisclosed fee. Wednesdays manager Alan Irvine acknowledged Madine's talents stating "He's a big lad, very good in the air and has a good touch. He is aggressive, he scores goals and has a lot of promise and potential" highlighting Madine as the man to lead Wednesday's League One promotion push. Their faith was rewarded in the 2011/12 campaign, whereby Madine finished top scorer with 18 goals helping Wednesday return to the championship at the 2nd attempt. However, off-field antics hampered his fledgling career in Sheffield. In October 2013 Madine was jailed for 18 months after being found guilty of causing actual bodily harm and grievous bodily harm in two separate attacks. He was released from jail on 20 February 2014 after serving 5 months of his 18 month sentence. Following his release, it was clear it would be hard for Madine to re-establish himself at Sheffield Wednesday, with even his own defence barrister Alison Dorrell denoting "He is not an asset to his club any more". As a result Madine had to look for other options, which led him to yet more loan spells, this time to Blackpool, Coventry and his home club Carlisle. Over a 2 year period Madine scored 9 goals in 33 games, however his performances were not enough to see him offered an improved contract at Wednesday and he was released in the summer of 2015.

Madine's career path led him to arrive at Bolton, a club in turmoil, boardroom and ownership issues clouded the club, which ultimately became the downfall of the 2015/16 campaign with Bolton relegated to league 1. Madine, with a disciplinary record and off-field antics Nile Ranger would be proud of, struggled to announce himself to the Wanderers faithful scoring just 6 goals in 36 games. Madine's issues reared their head once more when a rumoured 'bust-up' with boss Neil Lennon led to the striker being dropped from the squad for several games despite Bolton's struggles and vital up-coming games, somewhat epitomising the season the club had gone through.

The following season however signified a change in the career of Gary Madine, establishing a cult hero status around the Macron. Under the new leadership of Phil Parkinson, it was a club and player rejuvenated and focused on a return to the championship. Madine was an indispensable key aspect of the managers plans, the more direct, physical style of football meant that Madine was a linchpin and vital in every phase of play. Madine fired Bolton back to the championship with 9 goals and 7 assists in 36 league games. His importance was epitomised in his absence, in 36 games that Madine played during the campaign, Bolton were victorious in 69% (24 wins), with the team scoring 66 goals, however without Madine Bolton struggled with no wins in 10 games, scoring just 2 goals. Though the season was not controversy free, Madine endeared himself to the Bolton fans and not so much the Sheffield United fans appearing in a drunken Snapchat post in which Madine labelled the Blades captain Billy Sharp a “fat little pig” - ultimately leading to his suspension by the club and nearly derailing Bolton's promotion push.

The 27 year old was able to re-find his best behaviour, vowing that he will "never let anyone down again"  and was able to carry his form into the following 2017/18 campaign and is currently enjoying the season of his life. In just 28 games for Bolton Wanderers in the championship, Madine scored 10 goals and assisted 6, meaning he had an involvement in 62% of all of Bolton's goals, sparking a revival in fortunes following a horrendous start to the season that saw Wanderer's win none of their first 14 league games. However, Madine's impressive goal scoring form began to attract attention, with the January deadline day ultimately spelling the end of Madine's time in the North West.

Cardiff's search for an out an out number 9 to enforce their early season momentum and fire them to promotion led them to Gary Madine, a man who had bullied the Blue Birds defenders only weeks earlier, before curling in a tremendous free-kick from 30 yards, to see Wanderers victorious. Cardiff's current goal scoring prowess comes generally from Junior Hoilett, with the Canadian scoring 9 goals in 33 games. However, with Cardiff City the lowest scorers of the top 5 and their top scoring striker Kenneth Zohore with just 4 goals, Madine looks an inspired piece of business. Madine signed for the Blue Birds in a deal rumoured to be worth £6m, signing a three-and-a-half-year contract, the biggest outlay by City owner Vincent Tan, since they recruited Gary Medel in the Premier League for £11m.

On paper, Madine should fit perfectly into Cardiff's style of play, with Warnock implementing a way of football similar in mould to that of Phil Parkinson and Bolton. According to Cardiff average 73 'long balls' per game, which is just 3 fewer than Bolton. In addition the sides are identical in terms of crosses into the box, an area in which Madine thrives winning 8.8% of his aerial duels, whereby both average 18 per game.Ultimately, Madine could prove a smart bit of business from the Welsh club, should he find his feet quickly, adapt and stay away from trouble.

Leeds United away saw the debut of Gary Madine, with Cardiff running-out 4-1 winners, though Madine had no direct impact in any of the goals, his performance was there for all to see, with fans lauding his performance. Sides around Cardiff such as Bristol City floundering, ironically losing to a Bolton side without their ex talisman, the impact of Madine could prove crucial in determining who secures the all important two automatic promotion places.

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