Speaking ahead of Saturday’s match, Neil Warnock has surprised everybody with comments seemingly aimed at smoothing over the past bitterness with Rafa Benitez.

The now Cardiff boss ignited a friction between the two managers when Sheffield United were relegated back in 2007, Neil Warnock furious when both Manchester United and Liverpool played what he deemed weakened teams in their final games of the season.

Warnock says that he will never forget what happened in that relegation season but has indicated he may be in forgiving mood.

Having had little or nothing good to say about the Newcastle boss in these past nine years, Neil Warnock now declares ‘I have to say how much I admire him (Rafa)’.

The Cardiff Manager showing his appreciation for the fact that Benitez stayed at Newcastle after relegation, proving that he somebody in the job for all the right reasons, rather than just the money.

Neil Warnock is looking at Saturday as a ‘bonus game’, one where anything for Cardiff would be a bonus.

He says ‘you’re in football for games like this’ and looks forward to seeing ‘50,000 screaming in black and white’.

Let’s hope those are screams of pleasure for the home fans.

Neil Warnock speaking to Wales Online:

“I have to say how much I admire him (Rafa Benitez).

“What has gone on in the past will not go away, I was disappointed at the time but that’s gone.

“I have got nothing but admiration for him, to stick with it.

“To be relegated and then to stay – he will be on a good salary but it’s not money that motivates you at this stage of our career. He wants to win and see the project through.

“I was surprised he stayed but it shows what he thinks of the club. He was at Real Madrid two years ago, he went down but he stuck with them.

“It shows it Newcastle United is a special club.

“You’re in football for games like this. 50,000 screaming in black and white and lowly Cardiff. David and Goliath.

“You have got to enjoy it, it’s a bonus game. They’ve won seven on the trot but it’s another challenge.”