Everyone is pondering how to fix Cardiff. How to bring back that loving feeling. Woah, that loving feeling. Now it’s gone, Gone, GONE!
One of the selection dilemmas has been resolved with the crushing news of Sol Bamba’s long-term lay off. Who should fill in at right back though, now that Bruno Manga has moved inside; Leandro Bacuna or Lee Peltier? How about central midfield? Who offers the best balance? Up front too. Kenneth Zohore or Oumar Niasse?
But the lone forward berth is far from a two-horse race. No one is really saying it right now, but maybe Callum Paterson is still Cardiff’s best option up front?
The signing of Niasse relegated Paterson back out to the wing and he did a sterling job there, like he does anywhere you care to field him. For a while back there, Cardiff looked like they had a good thing going with an attacking diamond also incorporating Josh Murphy and Bobby Reid, but it didn’t last.
Unfortunately, Murphy is proving consistently inconsistent, while Niasse appears to make the difficult look easy and the easy look really rather taxing. A willing runner and a good trier, Niasse has not looked even remotely like scoring yet.
We all know the score with Zohore. He’s either feeling it or he’s not. He’s looked bright since returning to the side, but he will not get the space to gallop in to that he became accustomed to in the Championship. If you could merge the two, you might be on to something, but individually, they’re not really troubling opponents. Especially as a pairing like at Wolves.
That is not the case with Paterson, who is nothing if not a handful. He may not move like a striker, but he certainly does move. He’s perpetual motion and must be a nightmare to play against because he offers a physical presence too and is more skilful than people give him credit for.
Stick him on the right wing, fire diagonal balls at him all and he’ll make a go of it, but Cardiff have missed him as a central presence, especially in the last few games.
Paterson and Reid are Cardiff’s joint top scorers, but have yet to line up off each other centrally. It should be an option worthy of exploring, seeing as we’ve tried every other possible combination in recent weeks.
Paterson has not been in the side in any capacity in recent weeks and that will surely change sooner rather than later. Reminiscent of earlier in the season, when Paterson started the opening game, but then sat out the following eight. When he finally returned, he then started 21 consecutive matches.
If Cardiff are to stick to their strengths and pick based on merit, then Paterson needs to be in there somewhere and he should still be given serious consideration as a striker. He may still be their best bet.