Call To Rest Cardiff City's McNaughton
Cardiff City have struggled with the depth of the squad again this season, and whilst injuries (e.g. Fowler) have been covered within the squad, the right-back position has been of particular concern.
Kevin McNaughton started the season in that position, and is q quality and consistent performer. In addition, Cardiff had one of the brightest prospects available to cover that position in Chris Gunter. However, shortly after breaking into the side, Gunter was sold to Tottenham Hotspur.
No loan signing could be made to cover Gunter's absence so McNaughton remains the only natural right-back in the squad. Trevor Sinclair, Darcy Blake and Aaron Ramsey have all covered as McNaughton missed several games through injury.
Recently, the tenacious Scotsman has beenstruggling with hamstring problems, including the FA Cup semi-final where he was substituted just moments into the second half. He was also withdrawn on Saturday and looked to be strugglin with a similar problem.
McNaughton is likely to be available to face Wolverhampton Wanderers tonight, but I honestly believe he should be rested until the Cup final. The play-off hopes have now been extinguished and to take chances now would be foolish in the extreme.
I have been impressed with Darcy Blake as he adapts well to right-back and looks capable and assured. However, to ask him to play an unfamiliar role as a youngster, against Premiership opposition, at Wembley, in a cup final - that doesn't sound ideal.
If McNaughton is anything short of 100%, don't risk him and allow us to be slightly under-strength for the three remaining league games. Hamstrings can easily be aggrevated and that would be a huge blow for City.