CCFC Top Player December: Craig Conway
Cardiff City's Vitalfootball player-of-the-month for December 2012 is Craig Conway after the Scottish winger stormed into the starting XI and showed no signs of letting his place go with a string of impressive performances.
In November, Conway had officially requested to be placed on the transfer list amid concerns over his first team opportunities. The request was denied by Mackay, but with Kim, Noone, Cowie and the currently injured Tommy Smith to return - competition was high.
Conway's break came when flying winger Craig Noone was sent off during a 1-1 draw at Derby County. Noone watched the next game from the stands, and Conway was given his chance against Sheff Wed. Despite an indifferent Cardiff City performance, Conway was one of the few stand-out players and showed excellent tenacity, positivity and workrate. Conway deservedly got the winning goal with a fine low strike.
It has since become almost impossible for Mackay to drop Conway and he started every game in December. He contributes all over the pitch and whilst he offers natural width and is a danger in attack - it is his defensive cover that has been just as important when keeping opponents like Wilfried Zaha quiet. Again on Saturday vs Millwall, Conway tracked back to very good effect and he and Andrew Taylor look increasingly more solid on the left - previously a weak area targeted by opponents.
Craig Bellamy, David Marshall and Mark Hudson (suspension aside) were the other major contenders having played especially well in December. Bellamy's return to full fitness has been a massive boost, and with goals against Blackburn and Leicester, and a double assist vs Palace - Bellamy only just missed out to the resurgent Conway.