Writer: Tim Edge
Date:Sunday January 2 2011
Informed sources in Cardiff suggest that Dave Jones has potentially only a handful of games left as Cardiff City manager. It seems that only a convincing victory against Leeds on Tuesday, followed by a significant and sustained up-turn in form will spare Jones the ignominy of being the next Championship manager to lose his job.
How must TG and Vincent Tan be feeling, having granted Jones the resources to assemble what is undeniably the best quality squad in the division only to see them free-falling towards mid table? As they consider opening their cheque books in the January transfer window they must increasingly be wondering whether Dave Jones is still the best man to be spending their money for them. After recent disasters at Watford and Bristol City there are signs that the faith of Cardiff fans in their beleaguered manager is beginning to crumble, with many focusing on the 55 points needed to avoid relegation than the (increasingly unrealistic) 80 required to secure automatic promotion.
At the heart of the team's recent poor form has been the apparent inability of the manager to inspire and motivate his players as well as his worrying tendency to choose the wrong options, particularly in defence. It was obvious to all those who witnessed the Watford debacle that the confidence of Lee Naylor and Darcy Blake was completely shot and that both should be withdrawn from the firing line. Yet both were in the match day squad at Bristol City and were to feature significantly in another dreadful defensive display. Whatever the perceived shortcomings of Gabor Gypes and Paul Quinn, neither lack resolve or an appetite for a challenge, exemplified by Quinn in the backs to the wall, ten man performance against Leicester last season. All great teams are founded on a strong, uncompromising defence, a concept to which Jones, himself once an accomplished defender, seems curiously blind. Our best centre half of last season remains out of favour and languishing on loan at Hull City, a procession of full backs have failed and been discarded and early reports of progress in the transfer window concern forwards, not defenders.
In demolishing Leeds earlier in the season we proved that we were worthy contenders for automatic promotion. It seems that only a return to that kind of form on Tuesday will ensure that we don't pursue our increasingly fragile promotion quest under new management.
Date:Sunday January 2 2011
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