First Defensive Shake-Up For Cardiff City
Cardiff City manager Malky Mackay will be forced to change his preferred Taylor/Hudson/Gerrard/McNaughton defensive line-up for the first time today following Andrew Taylor's hamstring injury.
Ex-Celtic man Lee Naylor is a specialist and experienced left-back who replaced the injured Taylor in midweek. The introduction of Naylor will not inspire confidence in many Cardiff City fans and it's safe to say his debut season with the Bluebirds was far from satisfactory.
Malky Mackay is all too aware of Naylor's weaknesses after being one of a number of clubs who set out to target our problem area with Will Buckley instigating a New Year nightmare as Watford ran riot.
However, Naylor looked decent on Wednesday and will surely benefit from a new regime and a full pre-season routine. He does have quality, and is capable of being a good player in the Championship, although a lack of match practice this season is certainly a concern.
The other option for Mackay is a switch for Kevin McNaughton to left-back where he is perfectly comfortable. That would allow for the inclusion of a right-back with Paul Quinn and Darcy Blake hoping for the nod.
Quinn captained the side on Wednesday, putting in a typically gritty and determined shift and scoring the winning penalty. Like the majority of defenders, Scotmsan Quinn has struggled for first team action under Mackay. You know what you'll get from Quinn, dogged defensive qualities and a willingness to support in attack. He is a battler, and may well get a chance today.
Mackay would also consider Darcy Blake on the right, a position he has played most in for City and been largely effective. Mackay likes to give young players a chance, and would love to reward Blake for the good form he showed for Wales against both Montenegro and England. He did get a chance in midfield and was solid if unspectacular. Mackay will also be mindful of the fact that Blake is unable to make any one position his own, and another different role may not be the best for his development.
Of the three options, Blake has the most first team experience this season having appeared both in the league and for Wales. A full 120 minutes for both Quinn and Blake on Weds was not ideal but all three are viable and sensible options for Mackay depending on fitness and form in training this week.