Bristol City One To Watch: Campbell-Ryce
Cardiff City host a Bristol City side currently occupying bottom place in the Championship, but looking to kickstart their season with a victory in the Severnside derby. There will be few who think BCFC will really struggle this season and it appears a matter of time before they get back on track, especially considering the talent available to new boss Millen.
The headline signings within the Championship attracted significant attention over the summer, and while Craig Bellamy`s move to Cardiff ranks very highly in that list, the signing of veteran goalkeeper David James also raised eyebrows as he joined Bristol City. Although he is no spring chicken, he remained a top player for Portsmouth and in England contention - though things have not worked out ideally in the South West so far. On his day, James can be almost impossible to beat.
Midfielder Marvin Elliot is an excellent player and could well relish a chance to control the central area, if, as previously speculated, the relatively lightweight Peter Whittingham is used centrally in a 2 man midfield.
In attack, the Robins appear to have an abundance of riches with Jon Stead (who loves to score against us), Brett Pitman, Dave Clarkson (a former Bluebirds target) and Welshman Sam Vokes now returned to fitness. That has seen the powerful John Akinde loaned out, but suggests the Robins have more than enough firepower to succeed. All that before considering that Nicky Maynard, a pacy and explosive striker finished as joint top scorer in the Championship last year.
For this game, Vital Cardiff City has opted for former Barnsley winger Jamal Campbell-Ryce as the dangerman (though in promising youngster Danny Rose, and fellow wideman Albert Adomah - Bristol City have many options on the wing). Campbell-Ryce is pact, tricky and can rise to the big occasion. He has struggled with consistency, but causes havoc when on form and could be roused by the derby day atmosphere. Another pertinent reason for this selection, has been the worrisome decline in Lee Naylor`s form after a strong start to his Bluebirds career. In recent games, Naylor has looked a weak link at the back, and was targeted by Millwall and Crystal Palace to good effect - his backing off led to Scott Barron`s opener, while he has been far tooeasy to beat and failed to close down effectively.
The battle between Naylor and Campbell-Ryce could prove key. The Bluebirds want to keep it tight, dominate possession and look to play round Bristol City. We don`t want to give anything to hang on to, and not be vulnerable on the counter attack. Naylor is yet to forge an effective partnership with his left-sided midfielder since Whittingham, Bellamy, Koumas and Keogh have shared responsibilities so far.
The diminutive winger is therefore a potent threat, and one who must be carefully marshalled. If that happens, and we compete effectively in midfield, then Campbell-Ryce and BCFC`s other attacking threats will be bypassed, frustrated and nullified. That`s the plan anyway!