Date:Tuesday December 20 2011
Cardiff City have made a highly encouraging start to life under Malky Mackay and sit within the play-off positions at Christmas. The Bluebirds have settled on a fluid formation with three designated central midfielders, winger Craig Conway floating and Scotsman Kenny Miller alone up front.
Miller was a summer signing after becoming increasingly disheartened with life in Turkey. Mackay helped him through the difficulties, and Miller jumped at the chance to join in a £800k move. The move certainly raised a few eyebrows, with Miller already well past the 30 year mark and having played mostly in the Scottish league where goals for a striker do not necessarily indicate quality.
The concerns appeared to have foundation as Miller struggled early in the season. He was not yet fully match fit, but apart from a well taken winner in the opening day win over West Ham Utd - Miller looked somewhat clumsy and unable to get involved.
Since then, he has grown to become a key member of the side, showing a hunger and willingness to put in the graft needed from a lone frontman. He`s never going to be a big aerial threat, but has tremendous nuisance value and certainly knows where the goal is.
For those that though of Miller as a poacher though, he has proved that misconception wrong. Although we lost on Saturday, and Miller failed to find the net (or even come particularly close) - he was man-of-the-match ahead of the industrious Aron Gunnarsson. That came from a gutsy all round performance characterised by two excellent assists, making him key to both goals.
The first was about as far away from his preferred gameplan as possible. Dwarfed by the relative giants like Hudson, Turner etc - Miller won a flick-on at the near post to beat the Boro defence and find Ben Turner yards out where he could barely miss. Very rarely has any of the players of the Chopra/Earnshaw/Fowler stature managed that for us.
Then came the real moment of quality, when City broke quickly just before half time, Miller drove at the Boro defence and looked to have gone too wide as two defenders shielded him from goal. However, the guile shown to place a cheeky backheel back across goal and into Aron Gunnarsson`s path was exceptional.
Kenny Miller has 6 goals so far in the league this season with virtual half gone. That puts him on course for a reasonable return of 12 goals over the season but he as certainly improved as the campaign has progressed. With his all round contribution also impressive - his signing looks a very good one for Cardiff City at the moment.
Date:Tuesday December 20 2011
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