Date:Monday January 5 2009
Cardiff City's Northern Irish left-back Tony Capaldi made a long awaited return to the Bluebirds matchday squad after sitting out the season to date with a knee problem. He was amongst the 7 substitutes named for the 3rd round clash with Reading in the FA Cup.
However, whilst the added squad depth cannot hurt us - it remains to be seen whether Capaldi has any part to play in the Bluebirds promotion bid this season. For the vast majority of the campaign, veteran Mark Kennedey has filled in impressively in an unfamiliar full-back's role. Solid if unspectacular, Kennedy has proved critics (myself included) wrong to form a stable part of one of the most miserly defences in the Championship.
I certainly cant see Jones changing a winning defensive combination to include Capaldi, who was the weakest link in last season's defensive unit. That means the former Plymouth Argyle defender is left to fight for a place on the bench - a problem he looks certain to find extremely difficult.
In recent times, the likes of Darren Purse has struggled to get a regular place on the bench while Capaldi will also find a lack of versatility hinders his claims. He is a left-back and only a left-back whilst his likely rivals include Miguel Comminges, whom, although somewhat unpredictable and erratic can play either on the left or right and provide added cover in midfield.
In addition, Ledley and McNaughton are both virtually undroppable and easily able to cover the left back slot should injury or dismissal require it. Darcy Blake is another willing full-back fighting hard to feature in the matchday squad, he has also player both sides of defence and has the added quality to cover in midfield - while the player himself rates centre-back as his most effective position!
All in all, Capaldi will face a difficult time to break into the matchday squad, before he even comes close to making Dave Jones consider changing the starting XI - injuries and suspensions remain Capaldi's best chance to get a game, and there's only so much a long throw can get you....
Capaldi's plight serves to underline the added competition and squad depth in Cardiff City's squad this season. A virtual ever-present last year is unlikely to the bench excepting injuries, he's also an experienced Championship player and International!
Date:Monday January 5 2009
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