It’s time to head to the roof and light the signal. Cardiff need Batman and Robin right now. Fortunately, they already have a dynamic duo at hand in Josh Murphy and Bobby Reid, they just need to pair them.
In plenty of games this season, they have been on the pitch together, but rarely close enough to each other to get any interplay going. In the final 15 minutes of the Huddersfield game, with the hosts down to 10 men, Cardiff briefly had a front three of Murphy, Reid and Danny Ward. They pinned back the Terriers backline and created several chances.
Granted, they probably wouldn’t be able to overwhelm 11 men in such a way, but they looked as threatening and fluid in that spell as they have all season. I guess that would make Ward Batgirl? Holy cow! (Don’t worry, I’m not intending to stretch the metaphor any further.)
Murphy and Reid were Cardiff’s two big summer buys and you tend to get what you pay for in the transfer market. They sometimes look a cut above Cardiff’s other attacking options with their superior touch and speed of thought. Getting the best out of them both may involve stationing them closer to each other. Especially with Cardiff lacking in forward options.
Fortunately, they have managed to fashion a makeshift striker out of their old right back, but it may not be a long-term solution. It will be difficult for Cardiff to land a regular source of goals in January because they won’t have huge sums to spend, are not the most enticing prospect if in and around the bottom three, plus everyone in the bottom half of the table will be after the same players.
Reid with Murphy just behind, or vice versa, may prove their best bet. It would be a broadly similar set up to the shape Cardiff briefly adopted with some success against Arsenal, and a few subsequent games, earlier in the season, when necessity saw Ward introduced.
Cardiff pressed much higher up the pitch in those games and played with a much higher tempo, which admittedly is not saying much for the team that by some distance runs the least in the division. It was a more proactive approach though, where Cardiff are sometimes guilty of being a little too reactive.
That’s not to say they need to combine in some sort of 4-4-1-1. Reid probably deserves a chance up front at some stage, which would also allow the pair to work in tandem. Maybe they can even give Murphy, Reid and Ward another whirl as a trio. For now, Paterson has the the shirt and deservedly so after the greatest transformation since Josh Magennis, or The Joker even!
Will it ever happen though? Tune in next week to find out. Same bat-time, same bat-channel.