Cardiff City's Midfield Crisis Continues
Cardiff City continue to suffer from a lack of squad depth which has compounded the injury problems affecting the midfield as the Bluebirds prepare to take on Burnley at Turf Moor.
City have only Craig Conway and Peter Whittingham as natural wide players at the club with Whitts certain to be needed in the central area and likely to be used there for much of the season. Don Cowie is capable of doing a job on the right flank though is more comfortable pushed inside.
Unfortunately for Malky Mackay, the ankle injury that saw Aron Gunnarsson limp off against Bristol City will again keep him out, and promising Slovakian youngster Filip Kiss will also not be risked with a slight pull to his hamstring. Experienced midfielder Stephen McPhail has yet to feature this season after missing the entire pre-season with illness. He is back in training, but some way off match fitness.
If the above weren`t bad enough, Mackay`s options are further depleted with the absence of fringe players Sol Taiwo and Aaron Wildig - again through injury. Neither has featured much for City, but would surely be useful options given the lack of bodies to fill midfield.
One potential option is the inclusion of Darcy Blake in a holding midfield role. Primarily a defender, Blake has played in midfield as cover for Seyi Olofinjana last season. A versatile player, he was restored to the bench for the 3-1 home defeat by Brighton and could push for a starting position if Mackay wants to use Whittingham in a more advanced role.
It seems likely that Joe Mason will again start for Cardiff City. The promising youngster arrived from Plymouth Argyle as a striker, but has been utilised so far as an attacking and ball-carrying midfielder to reasonable effect. He has been given freedom to drift around and caused problems - especially for Bristol City.
Cardiff City struggled in midfield last time out, and with only Darcy Blake as a possible change - Mackay looks set to stick with the same 4 players. Hopefully, Burnley will be less organised than Brighton and the system will work well away from home. The likes of Kiss and Gunnarsson hope to be back in contention next week, while there are still more players due to arrive before the end of the transfer window.