Date:Friday October 7 2011
Cardiff City's bad luck with injuries appears to be easing with a number of key players now back in contention following lay-offs. The International break provided a welcome respite after the battle weary Bluebirds drew with Leicester, beat Southampton but fell to defeat away at Hull City - without any recognised strikers available.
Andrew Taylor is now back in full training, the fleft-back fully recovered from a minor hamstring tear. He had been ever present, and provides a solid presence at the back and willing support in attack.
New recruit Ben Turner is also now in contention after building up his fitness levels after a move from Coventry City. He made a late appearance during the defeat at Hull City, winning several headers in an unfamiliar forward role. He will compete with Hudson and Gerrard for a starting spot in defence.
Crucially for Cardiff City, winger Craig Conway is fully recovered from ankle damage sustained against the Foxes. The Scotsman is the only natural wide player available in the Bluebirds squad with both Whittingham and Cowie preferring to drift inside. We have missed the balance provided by Conway and he looks set to return to the starting line-up next week.
The experienced Stephen McPhail is also back in full training providing further competition in the centre of midfield.
The Bluebirds have been weakest in attack with both Rob Earnshaw and Rudy Gestede his by hamstring problems in the 0-0 Leicester draw. Both are back in training, and will be monitored carefully over the next week for tightness and both could play some part against Ipswich Town next weekend.
Kenny Miller is another injury victim, but has travelled to link up with the Scottish squad for the EURO qualifier against Liechtenstein on Saturday. While that game may come too early for the experienced forward, he is hopeful of returning to action for Tuesday's clash with Spain and Cardiff City's game next weekend.
It will be a major boost to have all those players back available, and Malky Mackay will have the luxury of selecting from a near fully fit squad. Some players will be lacking match sharpness, but we now have options in terms of personnel, formation and tactics.
Who knows, we may even see a loan player recruited in the near future providing a further boost to the Cardiff City squad.
Date:Friday October 7 2011
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