Cardiff's Naylor Must Exorcise Buckley Demons
Cardiff City face Watford tomorrow looking to set the record straight after being hammered 4-1 by Watford when the two sides met last month. Key to that encounter will be the battle between inconsistent Bluebirds full-back Lee Naylor and Hornets winger Will Buckley.
Watford had a clear plan to target Naylor at Vicarage Road, a plan that was executed to perfection and saw them run out clear and comfortable winners despite an early lead for Cardiff City. Buckley was encouraged to isolate himself 1-on-1 against Naylor aand attack him at every opportunity.
Buckley gave Naylor a torrid afternoon, and we were given a lucky escape when Marshall produced a fine penalty save after Naylor fouled Buckley. He then tormented the former Celtic left-back before crossing for Danny Graham's leveller. Just minutes later, Buckley was again a threat and Naylor was booked for an untimely challenge. It seemed likely Naylor would be certain not to last the game, and that a red card was inevitable.
In fact, he only lasted another few minutes before his humiliation was complete and he was hauled off in favour of youngster Adam Matthews. McNaughton switched to the left and was largely able to nullify Buckley but the damage was done with Watford in full flow and showing superb touch and confidence.
At the time, the Bluebirds team and Lee Naylor individually were showing desperately poor form. More recently there have been much more positive signs and we gained creditable draws with Norwich City and twice against Stoke City with Naylor looking far more comfortable and solid.
An able defender, Naylor is prone to errors and has shown poor positioning on occasions this season. He became too easy to beat and was slow to close down his man leading to a plethora of crosses, and several goals conceded through poor defending. However, when on form he is capable, and a definite threat going forward.
Watford's ability to find Buckley in space will be hampered at CCS, but the Hornets will know this is a weakness that can be exploited and will look to take advantage. This promises to be an important fixturre, while the battle between Nylor and Buckley is sure to have an influence on the result.