Return Of The 'King' For Cardiff City
Cardiff City Stadium was the venue for the return of the King as Kevin McNaughton made a long awaited return to fitness following a lengthy injury lay-off. Having been out since pre-season, Kev returned to the starting XI against Barnsley but was forced off with a minor hamstring tear. We had been crying out for some tenacity, control and defensive solidity following a 3 game losing run.
Such is McNaughton`s importance and temperament, he was immediately thrown into a much changed back 4, including 3 new faces and in an unfamiliar left back role. McNaughton has operated there before for Cardiff City, when Kerrea Gilbert was on loan from Arsenal and acquitted himself well.
McNaughton was very very good on Saturday and showed few signs of rustiness. He did his job effectively and made some vital interceptions. This was before being switched to centre-back after injury to Anthony Gerrard and the absence of Gabor Gyepes with a thigh strain. Even that failed to phase Kevin, and he outfought and outplayed Jon Parkin and Jon Stead - both of whom are far bigger than him.
You shouldn`t forget that McNaughton has NEVER played with Mark Hudson, Anthony Gerrard or Paul Quinn before. However, there were no communication worries and we looked a great deal more solid at the back than in recent weeks. Any club would welcome a player of McNaughton`s obvious quality back into the fold, for Cardiff City he offers something a little different from other squad members and is therefore of even more importance to our team. Bluebirds fans will be desperately hoping to see much more of McNaughton and that he remains injury free over the rest of the season.
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