Cardiff City Season Review: The Keepers (1)
Another Season, Another New Keeper
On-loan Manchester United youngster Tom Heaton began the season as Dave Jones` preferred option
between the posts. Whether that was on merit, or under agreement with Alex Ferguson is unknown but
Heaton did OK in his initial appearances for the club. It took him 6 attempts to finally secure a
clean sheet but then went 300 minutes without conceding as the Bluebirds went unbeaten in 9 games.
Doubts remained as to Heaton`s command of his penalty area and although renowned as a shot-stopper
- he wasn`t pulling off many saves! In fact, he made two disappointing efforts during a 2-2 draw
with Norwich City but he remained number one.
Heaton made several early mistakes in collecting backpasses, and made another away at Plymouth
Argyle as he crazily hand-balled outside his box with little need. However, he was one of few
players that day to emerge with credit after pulling off a number of good saves. Ironically it was
to be his last game for some time as the goalie limped off with a calf strain in the final few
minutes to be replaced by Enckelman.
The Enckelman Era
Peter Enckelman was actually unbeaten in the league all season (see title='Vital' a style='color: #2455A1'
href='http://www.cardiff.vitalfootball.co.uk/article.asp?a=155953'> HERE) and we looked
an increasingly solid defensive unit. Kicking was a weakness for Encks and on several occasions he
looked accusingly at the pristine Ninian Park pitch when it was of course his technique letting him
down. Nevertheless, goalkeeping gaffes were rare and Enckelman was settled as our first choice
goalkeeper. However, he went under the knife early in 2009 for an operation on a long-standing knee
problem. We had waited until Tom Heaton was recovered and also moved to secure Dimi Konstantopoulos
on loan from Coventry City as back-up. Unfortunately for Encks, his rehabilitation went badly and it
was soon confirmed he would miss the remainder of the campaign. Bad luck for the Finn, but he has
another year remaining on his contract and will compete with David Marshall next season.
Tom Heaton returned to the number one jersey for a plum away tie against Arsenal, Heaton was
immaculate despite a harsh lesson and 4-0 hammering dealt out by the Gunners to the battered
Bluebirds. The youngster made some excellent saves and effectively kept it from being a cricket
score as we were completely outclassed by a rampant Arsenal and Eduardo in particular. However, he
picked up a thigh strain in the defeat and was ruled out for a month. Terrible luck for Heaton after
months on the sideline and playing superbly in his comeback game.
Up next: Dimi Konstantopoulos takes on the keeper's jersey.
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