Cardiff City Can Now Win Without Key Players
Cardiff City have started the season exceptionally well, yesterday's win over Birmingham City saw up rise to the top of the Championship. Occupying a lofty position in the opening months of the season is far from a new concept to Bluebirds supporters as we often start well, suffer a dreadful November and tail off towards the end of the season.
However, one of our main weaknesses has always been a lack of squad depth, but that cannot be argued at the moment with last night's vitory (and the preceding games) all coming with Malky Mackay forced to do without several important players.
Last night, you could argue we were without our best defender and our best attacker. Ben Turner has been out for several weeks with a foot injury. He is now back in contention but the good form of replacement Matthew Connolly is keeping 'Big Ben' on the subs bench. He remains a key part of our plans, and will surely re-create his dominant and miserly form soon enough (Turner is yet to conced in the Championship this season).
It's perhaps churlish to suggest that Nicky Maynard is City's best attaker with the superb Craig Bellamy in the squad. However, the Welsh International had been used on the wing until Maynard's devastating injury. It looks like we will have to play almost all, if not all, of the season without the lively former Bristol City man - a big loss.
In midfield, we were weakened by the absences of Jordon Mutch and Tommy Smith. Mutch would have been a big asset last night, providing assuredness and height in the centre with conditions making things difficult for both sides. Smith's intelligence too has been a major asset in recent weeks and he looks a good acquisition. Both men are likely to be back in contention shortly.
With Turner, Mutch, Smith and Maynard injured - Cardiff City were able to bring in Connolly, Bellamy, Gunnarsson and Mason. The former two players came from the Premiership, while the latter were both key players last season (we finished 6th) but have struggled for gametime this time around. A really promising sign of strength-in-depth and real options to keep players fresh over the course of the season -something we have not previously had.