Mackay Appointment Raises Naylor Dilemma
Cardiff City spent a long time over the previous summer in attempting to persuade free transfer Lee Naylor to join the club and solve the historically problematic left-back position. Naylor was waiting to see if offers from the Premiership would be forthcoming after his departure from Celtic but in the end opted to join the Bluebirds.
Unfortunately, it seemed his time in Scotland had not been successful prompting the Vital Celtic editor to remark to me: "Lee Naylor? Oh Dear!". The slower pace in the SPL also had an effect and Naylor looked far from comfortable in the Bluebirds back-line.
Naylor`s lack of form did not go un-noticed by rival managers and teams began to target him as the weak link, with some success. Relatively slow, indecisive and un-willing to close down attackers, Naylor was given stick from the CCS stands and also lost confidence. The most obvious examples of Naylor being targeted came in back-to-back defeats for City against Bristol City (Albert Adomah doing the damage) and Watford - where Will Buckley destroyed the former Wolves left-back.
That gameplan was presumably the work of our new manager Malky Mackay, and it worked a treat. First Naylor fouled Buckley after only 5 minutes only for David Marshall to produce an excellent penalty save to deny Danny Graham. Peter Whittingham scored, somewhat against the run of play, but Watford were getting plenty of job on City`s left and Buckley soon crossed for Graham to level. Just minutes later, Naylor was booked for another foul on Buckley and was eventually replaced after just 35 minutes as an act of mercy and in one of the most comprehensive and de-moralising head-to-head mis-matches I`ve seen. Watford went on to win the game 4-1.
Malky Mackay now has Lee Naylor as one of his own players and must decide whether to move him on, or try to improve his game rather than exploiting his faults as previously. There`s no doubt Mackay did his homework and in Will Buckley had the ideal player to take advantage. Whilst Naylor`s season could be described as un-convincing at best, a full pre-season and fresh start could be exactly what he needs to go on and become an important member of the Bluebirds` squad.