Date:Saturday March 12 2011
Cardiff City manager Dave Jones is surely contemplating a change to his starting line-up, especially given the return to fitness of Seyi Olofinjana as the Bluebirds prepare to face Barnsley on Sunday.
However, Jones is also likely to be thinking about a change up-front with talismanic striker Jay Bothroyd struggling for impace and lacking in confidence.
Bothroyd is City's top scorer, with 17 goals so far this term. However, he has failed to score since the 1st February and has only 2 goals since November. Whilst he contributes much more than goals to the Cardiff City cause, he does not look the same player as earlier in the season.
At his best, Bothroyd is strong and skilful, excellent both aerially and on the floor. He drags defenders out wide, cutting in and linking superbly with Chopra and the midfielders. After superb early season form, he forced his way into the England squad and was rewarded with a substitutes appearance against France.
Since that England appearance, Bothroyd's season has faltered, though a frustrating hamstring injury is probably the causative factor. Since returning, he has looked short of confidence and has also been targeted by referees who believe he goes to ground too easily - he has recently been denied two definite penalties and has a good goal ruled out for offside.
For the first time, Dave Jones now has good quality back-up in the bulky form of Jon Parkin. The 'Beast' joined from Preston North End in January and scored a sublime effort against Norwich City for his debut goal. Since then, however, he has been limited to appearances from the bench, often getting just a few minutes to make an impact.
Parkin will be itching to get on the field, and make a difference from the beginning. He used to play for Barnsley and would love to play against his former club. Whilst he is less mobile than Bothroyd, and lacks some of Jay's dribbling ability and touch - there is no doubt he is effective, has a very deft touch and provides a massive physical presence, he's always capable of getting a goal.
The other big benefit to Parkin's inclusion over Bothroyd is that he is far more likely to be in the box to take advantage whearas Bothroyd tends to drift wide and cut in. After his recent dip in form, Bothroyd looks more isolated out wide and is not in the box to capitalise on the creativity of McPhail, Whitts, Jet, Burke and co.
A goal for Bothroyd would be a massive boost for him, and to have one of the division's top strikers in form for the promotion push would be ideal. However, we need a performance and Parkin is fit and ready to make a difference. He didn't join to play just a few minutes here and there, and will surely have asked Dave Jones the question.
Who would you pick to start against Barnsley? Bothroyd or Parkin..... You can vote in the poll open on the right hand side of your screen:
Date:Saturday March 12 2011
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