Date:Tuesday December 1 2009
Cardiff City boss Dave Jones handed a new deal to experienced midfielder Riccy Scimeca over the summer, despite the former Nottingham Forest man making just a handful of appearances over the previous two seasons. You have to go back to the 06/07 season to find a meaningful contribution over a prolonged time when Scimeca scored 5 goals and played a part in the majority of games.
The reported deal for the 34 year old included a low weekly wage, with significant add-ons based on appearances. Persistent groin injuries, associated surgery and infections and his age have hindered Scimeca`s return and a 34 year old not having played regularly in years appears a risk at best.
The veteran midfielder is however a strong presence off the field aswell, and you wonder whether his new deal had something to do with the departure of club captain Darren Purse and the lack of leadership within the ranks. Riccy was a vocal player (and vice-captain) on the pitch and is an important member of the Bluebirds dressing room.
It is frustrating for Cardiff City fans that our midfield problems remain unsorted. For many years now, the only central midfield player we have signed is Solomon Taiwo - and the former Daggers man seems a little out of his depth so far and was by no means ready to slot into the first team. Ironically, a player of Scimeca`s style is exactly what we have been missing. On Sunday, we lacked a leader but also a controlling presence in midfield. Someone who wouldn`t get bullied off the ball, able to collect from the defenders, move forward and pick out a pass. Scimeca has/had all that in his game, and provided an aerial presence in the middle of the park - can anyone remember the last time we had that?!? (Schwinkendorf does not count!)
Noneltheless, despite the midfield clearly not functioning, Scimeca has not featured. He has made 4 appearances thus far, 3 from the bench and two being in the league cup. That suggests he is not up to the rigours of Championship football. However, he remains a regular if not permanent fixture on the Bluebirds bench and clearly is fully fit (physically if not match).
Those facts beg the question as to whether Dave Jones made a mistake in extending Riccy`s contract. For us fans, we`d either want to see him playing, or departed and allowing a replacement to be found - he`s not even injured! A fully fit, 30 year old Scimeca would be a revelation for Cardiff City right now and give us far more balance, presence and control in midfield. It may have been a risk, but surely DJ must have had clear evidence that meant Scimeca was going to be ready to play a part? Without a further injury set-back, it seems unlikely anything else could have changed that?
Jones has hinted at changes, and any fool could see it was Ledley and Rae that disappointed most on Sunday. Our hands are tied in the transfer market leaving Scimeca and Taiwo as the only real options (given McPhail`s illness). A change in formation always appears unlikely for DJ so if Scimeca does not get his chance now - he probably never will……
Date:Tuesday December 1 2009
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