Date: 10th December 2010 at 2:33pm
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Cardiff City will have to make do without key striker Jay Bothroyd for the trip to face Middlesbrough this weekend. Bothroyd is sidelined with the hamstring tear that saw him limp off after just 8 minutes of the 1-1 draw with Preston North End – mercifully, the injury is minor and he should be back in contention next week.

That leaves an opening in the Bluebirds attacking line-up, with a number of players looking to take advantage of Bothroyd’s absebce and make a claim for a regular starting place when Bothroyd returns. The versatility in the City squad allows for such eventualities since no two players are very similar.

The obvious replacement for Jay is the man Dave Jones immediately turned to on Saturday, with on-loan Wolverhampton Wanderers striker Andy Keogh stepping into the breach. Keogh worked very hard, won a number of headers while he would have been frustrated with the lack of service prior to latching onto Olofinjana’s knock-down to net a 94th minute equaliser.

Keogh’s performances warrants another chance in the side, but he has flattered to deceive in previous opportunities and his two late goals (vs Millwall & Preston) represent his only meaningful contributions.

Michael Chopra is another who will be chomping at the bit to get back into the side. Never one to remain quiet, Chops will have shown his frustration with having been confined to bench duty of late. He too made an impact from the bench against Preston and offered some much needed tempo and impetus. There are concerns over how a Bellamy / Chopra partnership would function, especially given we often use the strength and physique of Bothroyd to hold the ball up.

For that reason, both Chopra and Keogh could be called upon to lead the line. Both are hungry, and capable of scoring goals and whilst not a little/large duo – they should be able to link up to good effect if given adequate service. Recalling both would mean a change for Craig Bellamy. He could be dropped to the bench, after enduring a frustrating afternoon against Preston, or, preferably could be switched to a wide midfield role where he can look to isolate himself against the full-back and cause problems with his pace.

While none of the above partnerships have much experience of playing together, all offer a serious goal threat and posess quality. Undoubtedly a tricky decision, it should prove a nice selection headache for Dave Jones.