Welcome Return But Poor Future Prospects For Etuhu
Cardiff City striker Kelvin Etuhu, on-loan from Manchester City, made a welcome return to action during the desperately disappointing 2-1 home defeat to Ipswich Town on Sunday. The attacker had been out for several months with ankle ligament damage but returned to the substitutes bench and came on for the last 15 minutes.
Whilst his return is a boost for the Bluebirds, and provides added competition for places and squad depth - it is very difficult to see where Etuhu will be able to break into the first team, especially given the rigid 4-4-2 system preferred by Dave Jones.
Cardiff City striker Jay Bothroyd is pivotal to everything we do, but we have no like-for-like cover. Whilst Etuhu can operate as a forward, and is a powerful runner - his style is far removed from Bothroyd and they are in no way similar. With Bothroyd and Chopra the preferred strike duo, and Ross McCormack waiting in the wings - a striking role for Etuhu looks unlikely.
By his own admission, Etuhu favours an attacking left wing role, allowing his to cut inside and shoot. This is a similar trait to Quincy Owusu-Abeyie - but we failed to find a role for him last season and he was largely an unused substitute. In our 4-4-2 system, the midfielders are required to track back and we have struggled to cut out crosses from both sides in recent weeks. This means that a natural forward such as Etuhu would be forced to dramatically alter his style to fit in.
Add to that the fine form of Peter Whittingham and Chris Burke, who have probably been the two best players thus far, and a wing role for Etuhu seems even more likely. McCormack deserved to operate on the left on past form and can count himself unlucky to be isolated on the bench.
Etuhu came on to replace Chris Burke on Sunday, operating on the right. He was unfortunate to find himself surrounded by shell-shocked and lacklustre team-mates but was unable to affect the game at all. Much more than a bench role for Kelvin seems to depend on further injuries to our squad...