Cardiff City manager Russell Slade has given an assessment of his first month at the helm of the Bluebirds, and admitted there is still plenty of improvement to be made.Appointed in early October, after a lengthy transition from former club Leyton Orient, Slade has endured a mixed start to life in Wales.
The first task for the 53-year-old went perfectly to plan, when his new side handed Nottingham Forest their first defeat of the season during his dugout debut at the Cardiff City Stadium. That result was immediately backed up with a 3-1 win against high-flying Ipswich Town, to cap off a dream opening week.
But Slade’s impressive impact at the club was soon dealt its first blow when Cardiff ventured away from home, losing to Millwall and Bolton Wanderers, before drawing with Birmingham City at St Andrews last time out.
One point from nine on their travels since his appointment, and without a goal, his honeymoon period can now be considered over.
"There's room for improvement, that's obvious," Slade told football-league.co.uk.
"At home I've been delighted; we've won all our games and been very strong. It's a little more deep rooted away from home.”
Cardiff’s away struggles have been very deep rooted indeed. Since April 2013 they’ve triumphed just twice on the road in the league and, during that time, they've won promotion from the Championship and suffered relegation from the Premier League.
Slade, more than aware of the poor run that stretches back way before the beginning of his tenure, believes hard graft is the only way to go about ending their hoodoo as he seeks to build a winning philosophy within the club.
He added: “I was looking and it's about two away wins in 18 months, so we have to deal with that and the players need to realise they need to work hard, which I think they do.
“I look at their faces in the changing room after games and they know they have put in a shift. We are getting fit enough to deal with that, and also mentally I’m seeing positive signs.
"In terms of the physicality, our training sessions are of a higher intensity than they were before. Mentally, we're trying to build an ethos at the football club, a strong work ethic, desire and togetherness and to show a character when things are going against us. All those things help build a mental strength within the group.
"It's a group effort, the players have to make sure they are there for each other out on the pitch and I think they are doing that."
Next up for Slade's Cardiff is the visit of Reading, before they will test themselves on their travels once again, at Watford at the end of the month.
The Bluebirds currently sit mid-table, just five points adrift of the Play-Off places - a remarkably healthy position considering they hold one of the worst away records in the division, and endured a tough run that saw them pick up just one point from 12 towards the end of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s reign.
The project facing Slade is in far better shape than it was a month ago, however further improvements will need to come from all involved to satisfy the manager's hunger for success.