Five Subs and Three Strikers For Cardiff City?!?
Cardiff City's bench looked bizarrely unbalanced on Sunday with three strikers named alongside Tom Heaton and Darcy Blake. The switch from 7 to 5 substitutes has made it very difficult to select players on the bench and is surely a key reason why we're yet to see young winger Kadeem Harris in action yet.
Instead, Malky Mackay and his fellow managers are required to select those who give him the most flexibility and options should injury replacements or a change in formation be required. The likes of Craig Conway, Joe Ralls and Filip Kiss can all count themselves very unlucky to be out of the matchday 16.
Joe Mason began the game in attack, so Kenny Miller, Rudy Gestede and Robert Eanrshaw were all named on the bench. I'm sure Mackay's rationale was that Mason could easily adapt to fill a midfield role (where he has regularly played this year) while Rudy Gestede offers a very different option to Eanrshaw. In addition, McPhail seems highly unlikely to play the full 90 minutes, so Mackay knew he would need a replacement and therefore change-of-shape.
That does however mean that Darcy Blake is asked to cover across the backline, and central midfield while we selected a squad with absolutely no width. Whittingham has not operated on the left with any regularity over the past two seasons while Conway was left out entirely. No wide options must be seen as a gamble - though possibly a brave one with 3 out-and-out strikers included.
Personally, I'd much rather see 7 subs available - even though the Bluebirds possess a small squad. Mackay appears reluctant to trust his fringe players, even when others are tiring and jaded. There's a good argument to name two strikers to face Millwall, as we have struggled in attack at home lately. Kenny Miller looks set to return to the starting XI on Saturday, so there will certainly be changes.