Should Forgotten Man Keinan Be On Bluebirds Bench?
Cardiff City are worryingly short of defensive cover, and despite the frightening array of attacking talent at Malky Mackay's disposal - the injured Ben Turner is still one of our best players. Turner has a foot injury, meaning new signing Matt Connelly has started the last three games. With Gerrard (Sheff Wed) and Darcy Blake (Crystal Palace) recently departed, that has meant a place on the bench for youngster Ben Nugent.
Nugent is another imposing figure, despite his young age. He has played at full-back, but looks more suited to be a dominant centre-half later in his career. Mackay has shown faith in the English born academy product by promoting him to bench duty - but as the only specialist defensive cover - that remains a distinct worry.
Waiting in the wings is an Israeli International, with significant pedigree and experience at Championship level yet Dekel Keinan remains nowhere near the first team fold and has been cast aside by Mackay. He did play in the League Cup defeat to Northampton Town but that was his only action since January this year (FA Cup vs WBA) save for a minute long sub appearance while on loan at Bristol City. That loan followed a previous spell with Palace, curtailed by injury, but Keinan was given a stern telling off by Mackay after reveling details of the move on Twitter before it had been fully sanctioned.
However, with McNaughton and Connolly both able to play anywahere along the back line, my strong preference would be to include Keinan on the bench - able to slot in a centre-half if Connolly/Hudson was injured or sent off. Should Taylor or McNaughton leaver the field, Connolly could switch to full-back with Keinan partnering Hudson as he has done to good effect previously.
Clearly Mackay is not a fan of Keinan, but on his day he is a very adept Championship defender, also very comfortable with the ball at his feet so he would be more than capable of bringing the ball forward and feeding one of our dangerous midfielders. The former Balckpool defender is sickeningly frustrated, but has remained thoroughly professional and is a regular for the development squad despite his advanced years and experience.
Obviously it's Malky call, but I feel forgotten man Keinan still has plenty to offer, especially since we are very short in defensive numbers. We are still paying a significant wage for Keinan to train, and while his cover might be of use - he remains an entirely peripheral figure - unfortunately for him.