Cardiff City Face Epic Centre-Half Crisis
Cardiff City boss Dave Jones must be desperately hoping for good news ahead of tonight's game against Coventry as he ponders his options should injuries to Gabor Gyepes and Kevin McNaughton force them out.
Club captain Mark Hudson is definitely out after ankle surgery leaving Gyepes and Anthony Gerrard as the only specialist players in that position. Gerrard has found it tough going in his first season in the Championship and has surely played more games than Dave Jones had envisaged. His form has been acceptable but he is still learning and has made mistakes most likely brought on by inexperience and playing too many games.
Gerrard will certainly start tonight, but his partner is less obvious. Gabor Gyepes would be the best choice, but he has struggled with a back injury in recent weeks, playing with painkilling injections. However, his injury caught up with him and he was unfit to feature in the 1-0 defeat at Leicester City over the weekend.
Kevin McNaughton deputised in that game and once again filled in admirable. Super Kev has neither the experience nor physique to be a Championship centre-half but he uses his slight frame to it's best and compensates with pace and his reading of the game. On the several occasions he has filled in, McNaughton has done brilliantly - but its a massive ask of the Scottish full-back. Unfortunately, McNaughton has picked up a thigh problem and is rated as doubtful leaving Jones with a very difficult dilemma.
Darren Dennehy is an Irish centre-back, signed from Everton on a free transfer. However, he has never featured for the first team, and is currently on loan with Gillingham.
The only two other options I can see are the inclusion of Paul Quinn, Darcy Blake or Miguel Comminges in an unfamiliar role. All three are naturally right-backs but have all featured at centre-half at times. Comminges has filled that position on occasions for our reserve team this season, while Paul Quinn deputised for former club Motherwell. Comminges has not featured at all this season while Paul Quinn is out of favour and form having disappointed in his appearances to date. Darcy Blake is the only player currently in the squad and match fit though Dave Jones would be very reluctant to throw him in at Centre-back.
Blake has featured for Wales U21s in the centre of defence, and claimed it is his favoured position. Dave Jones disagrees and sees him as a right-back though he has put in some dogged performances in the centre of midfield of late, even ousting the experienced Scottish International Gavin Rae.
Hopefully both Gyepes and McNaughton will come through and start the game. At the very least, Dave Jones will pray that one is fit to partner Gerrard. The other options do not appear favourable at all....