Left-Footers Scrap For Cardiff City Midfield Spot
Cardiff City midfielder Stephen McPhail was instantly re-called to the starting line-up following an automatic 3 match ban picked up during a 1-0 away win at Reading. That decision had as much to do with Joe Ledley`s 1 match ban as McPhail`s current importance to the team but the Irishman grabbed his chance with both hands and appears a certainty to start against Watford this weekend.
McPhail put in a gutsy performance including some well-timed challenges while he was able to force the tempo at times and had a hand in four of the six goals on Tuesday night including three defence-splitting passes allowing Chopra through twice and Bothrord once to square for Whittingham.
Now, Joe Ledley is back in contention and is a virtual ever-present in the Bluebirds midfield. However, Ledley himself has been short of his top form and appears to be low on confidence. Protracted contract negotiations will not help his mindset and he has not shown the form he is capable of in recent weeks.
Stephen McPhail revealed his determination to keep his place and told BBC Sport:
"I was disappointed getting sent off at Reading and I was desperate to get back into the team, I knuckled down, kept my head down and had a point to prove."
"I don't want to let Joe back in, it is as simple as that. I've been out too many times and I've taken it on the chin. But I know I've got to keep performing as the central midfield position is the one with the most players."
Joe Ledley looks set for a bench role on Saturday, though if he performs well in training Dave Jones may be tempted to drop Gavin Rae or Peter Whittingham in his favour. The McPhail/Ledley combo has yet to convince while Whittingham has goals in successive games and weighed in with a superb assist in midweek. Joe Ledley may just get a closer look than usual at the opposition dug-outs….