Could Cardiff City Cope With Just Three Defenders?
Cardiff City face Derby County tonight and with new loan recruit Simon Lappin banned for collecting two yellow cards on his debut - the Bluebirds already depleted backline looks too stretched to cope.
With Ben Turner struggling and regular full-backs Taylor and McNaughton missing against Barnsley - we are really not lookingstrong at the back. Teenager Ben Nugent has done fantastically well in his 2 appearances, against tough opposition in Boro and Barnsley. he will surely continue, and there are no concerns over Mark Hudson and Matt connolly - both very impressive this season.
Malky Mackay is desperately hoping that he gets an injury boost today, with the return of Anddrew Taylor most likely and most helpful - he could slot straight back in at left-back. However, if Taylor is not passed fit - we are in trouble and might have to call upon another youngster, potentially Oshijala or the highly rated Declan John. We all support the youngsters but having two untried players in the back-four is far from ideal in the Championship.
Connolly is actually covering at full-back and is more comfortable at centre-half. There is the possibility that Mackay could opt for a back three of Hudson, Nugent and Connolly. There is plenty of height and strength there and with three centre-halves it does restrict space for the likes of Nathan Tyson, Conor Sammon and Theo Robinson. All have pace, so City would not want to keep too high a line and would have to be wary about the Rams exploiting the vulnerable flanks in such a system.
Unfortunately for Cardiff City, a 3-5-2 formation does not really suit the wingers we have - some of the most dangerous in the Championship. Bellamy and Noone are pacy, skilful and direct but do not count defensive duties as their strengths. Kim Bo Kyung is a highly technical and gifted footballer, but I wouldn't want him one-on-one with a flying winger by any means. Perhaps Don Cowie or Craig Conway would be more suited to that position, but neither is a regular starter and Cowie has been injured of late - would we even want to sacrifice the likes of Noone from the starting line-up.
A very difficult situation for City, with several options but none particularly appealing. Fingers crossed on Andrew Taylor's injury.....