Cardiff: Excuses excuses excuses!
Cardiff City manager Dave Jones` stock has fallen with Cardiff City fans over recent weeks. The man that single-handedly instigated City`s resurrection and subsequent promotion push over the last two seasons has found out just how fickle Cardiff fans can be.
Cardiff are at their highest position for a long long time, and Dave Jones has been working on a strict budget ever since he arrived. The start to this campaign was breathtaking and no-one could have expected our form to be so dominant as to open a 6 point gap at the top of the Championship. The doubters remained though and worries over a small squad, and whether we could maintain our form were raised.
In the last 2 months though, City have suffered a dramatic collapse having taken just 10 points from the previous 11 games seeing them slip into 5th position. This reversal in fortunes is at best untimely and at worst disastrous as we now look like a relegation threatened side, playing poorly with no confidence and just 3 goals in 6 games (2 from a defender!).
What has gone wrong?
We have heard all manner of explanations for the loss of form, and it has been the persistent moaning from Dave Jones that has frustrated some sections of the Cardiff support:
1) Small Squad: The lack of squad depth was always going to come into play at some point, and injuries to Gilbert, Flood and Parry have highlighted the poor back-up options available.
2) Unfair Suspensions: Allegations from Jones that his side are disadvantaged by appeals to the FAW rather than FA to overturn bans to Stephen McPhail and Glen Loovens (Cardiff have appealed 3 of 5 red cards this season, winning one).
3) Lack of training facilities: Waterlogged pitches have made outdoor training difficult for the squad and the players have been shunted from place to place looking for somewhere to train.
4) No Player-Pulling Power: Jones was unable to bring in quality players during the loan window due to the players not wanting to come to Cardiff City.
Normally calm and collected, Dave Jones has been losing his cool more regularly lately blaming the press for 'wanting City to fail` and becoming involved in an ugly clash with Stoke`s Lee Hendrie during the incident leading to Stephen McPhail`s sending off.
There is some truth in all the problems encountered by Jones and his side, while you would not expect some of these things to occur at a club looking to push for a Premiership spot. OK the side has floundered recently but as Darren Purse said "you don`t become a bad side overnight". As fans we have a duty to give the side our full support, and, whilst they could do better to entertain us at present, 5th place halfway through the season is beyond the expectations of many Cardiff City supporters. The play-offs is looking a more likely way for Cardiff to reach the Premiership, but with the likes of Birmingham, West Brom, Wolves and Sunderland in the division - were we expecting automatic?
Its always a bit of a rollercoaster with the City, but lets sit back and enjoy it as we go through the ecstatic highs and insufferable lows always associated with the club we all love.