6- Gabor Gyepes
Gabor Gyepes began the season as a Northampton Town player, making 3 appearances for the cobblers in that time and contributing to 2 clean sheets against Millwall and MK Dons. Following Glenn Loovens` switch to Celtic, Dave Jones moved for the Hungarian defender whom he had previously worked with at Wolves. Initial doubts were raised that we were replacing a £3m rated defender with a £200k man few had heard of from the lower leagues.
However, details emerged of past caps for the Hungarian national side, and a severe injury that saw him out of the game for some time and joining Northampton Town to gain match fitness. As is not always the case with Cardiff City fans, many resolved to give Gyepes a chance to prove himself with fitness a major factor. Dave Jones did not throw Gyepes into action straight away and we were forced to wait some time to see our new man in action. A 1-0 home win against Nottingham Forest saw Gyepes replace Darren Purse at half-time – though many would not have recognised the switch with the two players similar in stature style and haircut!
Purse remained first choice partner for Roger Johnson, though Gyepes got another chance after Purse was wrongfully dismissed away at QPR. Two games later, Purse was axed from the team after a dismal team showing in a 2-1 defeat at Plymouth giving Gyepes his first run in the team – Impressively he went 14 games without tasting defeat in a Bluebirds shirt and looked strong, composed and a good foil for Roger Johnson. A neat goal from a free-kick against Ipswich gave Gyepes his first goal but his aerial dominance and powerful defending were noticed by the fans.
Gyepes played alongside Purse and Johnson late in the season, and was forced to sit out with a groin strain and an automatic suspension for a red card against Sheffield United. The dismissal was desperately bad luck for the Hungarian when the entire City defence was caught out by a long ball but Gyepes recovered brilliantly to slide in and deny Darius Henderson – the Blades striker made no claims for a penalty and told Bothroyd he felt it was a fair tackle.
Gyepes was culpable for some of our late season capitulation, most notably in being out-muscled and even outpaced by the gigantic Jon Parkin during a 6-0 rout at Preston. Gyepes was one of a number of polayers who looked a completely different player and shadow of their usual selves as we dropped points and out of the play-offs. A memorable turn and shot rescued an unlikely point at relegated Charlton but it wasn`t enough.
This was a very solid first season for Gyepes, he is quiet on the field but assured and capable at the back. He definitely has the quality to play at this level and should remain an important first team player next season.
Season Rating 8
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