Marshall Needs Confidence 'Kick'start
Cardiff City have recently recalled Scottish goalkeeper David Marshall to the strting XI after an unfortunate injury to Tom Heaton, the former Manchester United man having displaced Marshall earlier in the year.
The majority of Bluebirds fans would surely rate both as solid Championship keepers, Heaton based on his displays this season - where he has looked clam, assured and contributed well. The opinion on Marshall would probably stem from last season, after he impressed following a move from Norwich City and became known as our 'first established number 1 since Neil Alexander'.
This season however, Marshall has not looked the convincing safe pair of hands of last year. There have always been concerns over his ability to command his area, and he has never looked overly comfortable under high balls and crosses. However, whilst he has not made any Enckelman-esque gaffes, there is certainly an uncertainty about the Scottish stopper and he ramins short of confidence.
That lack of confidence appears to have manifested itself most noticably in his kicking, with nerves often showing through and causing problems. Against Middlesbrough, his kicking was desperately poor and his distance acheived was far less than normal. That resulted in a number of kmis-kicks and shanks into touch, with the likes of Marvin Emnes always eager to close him down.
The hardy Bluebirds fans who attended our pre-season defeat at Notts County will remember (with a grimace) the absolute howler made by Marshall as his appalling mis-kick flew straight to Ben Burgess to feed Lee Hughes an easy open goal. A sheer moment of madness.
That extraordinary mistake, coupled with Marshall's most disappointing game for City (the 3-2 Wembley heartache against Blackpool) appears to have carried over into this season. Against the Seasiders, Marshall was wrongly positioned for Charlie Adam's leveller, and looked nervy throughout as his kicking and catching both deteriorated.
Confidence can be such a huge psychological driver for a goalkeeper, and the Cardiff City defence have not provided a brilliant backline to provide assurance to Marshall. He has not become a bad goalkeeper overnight, but will desperately want a run of clean sheets and good matches as soon as possible, in order to keep his place when Heaton returns in the New Year.