One To Watch - Darren Purse
31-year old Darren Purse is the Cardiff City club captain. He joined the Bluebirds in July 2005 for a fee of £750,00 from West Brom. He had been at the Hawthorns for a little over a year, having joined them from local rivals Birmingham City in June 2004.
Purse began his professional career at Leyton Orient, joining them in 1994 as a teenager straight from school. He stayed at Orient for two years and then moved to Oxford United, in July 1996, where he stayed for another two years. In February 1998, Purse signed for Birmingham City for a fee of £700,000. He stayed at the club until his £750,000 move came along to WBA in June 2004.
Londoner Purse has twice represented England at U-21 level. He has made over 465 professional appearances and scored 35 goals, although none this season (so far). Purse has received his fair share of yellow cards and also been sent off twelve times in his career!
Purse did not feature regularly for the Bluebirds last season, having to compete with the likes of Roger Johnson and Glenn Loovens. But this season, he has been a regular for the first team and, it would seem, has deserved his place (despite it coming because of the sale of Loovens to Celtic in August).
VitalCardiff editor, Bluebirdshroom, spoke very highly of Purse after his performance in Cardiff`s 2-0 victory at home to Blackpool at the end of October: "Purse was immense last night - constantly on hand to clear danger and was especially dominant in the air."
He went on to note that Purse managed to out jump Blackpool striker Ben Burgess on numerous occasions and get good clearances from his headers. "Also noticeable was that he looked assured and relaxed in contrast to recent seasons."
Bluebirdshroom attributed Cardiff`s win to Purse, as well as now long-term injury Jay Bothroyd: "The two that turned this from a draw to a win, for me, were Purse and Bothroyd."
Rangers fans will be hoping that Purse does not do such a sterling defensive job on Saturday as our forwards pit their wits against such stout defender who seems to have blossomed with age! Purse wears the number 5 shirt.
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