Cardiff City defender Roger Johnson was recently awarded the fans player of the season award after another impressive campaign by the dominant centre-back. Again Johnson has shown great strength, aerial ability and great anticipation in a season where (until recently) our defence has been an integral part of the Bluebirds success.
However, in a recent game at Selhurst Park, Cardiff City were subjected to little short of assault at the hands of a bullish Crystal Palace outfit – comfortably mid-table and sent out in aggressive mood by manager Neil Warnock. In that fiery encounter, both managers were sent off following a horrific incident whereby Johnson was left retching on the field and coughing up blood. It emerged afterwards he had suffered a fractured larynx and that his throat had been temporarily blocked by blood. It was a vicious elbow from on-loan Palace defender Claude Davis that caused the injury, he made no effort to reach the ball and lashed out – replays confirmed the intent and he was charged with violent conduct and hit with a 3 match ban.
Since that incident, Roger Johnson made a welcome return to the side (missing only the 2-2 clash with Swansea City). However, he does not appear so confident and inspiring as he had been prior to his hospitalisation. Whilst he has not been making individual errors, he has held off making the towering challenges and superb interceptions he is capable off.
Whether Roger`s confidence has been hit, or I`m looking too deeply for problems that aren`t there – we have gone from a watertight defence to a decidedly shaky one. In no way am I attributing this to Roger Johnson, he remains a good Championship defender. However, a Roger Johnson at his dominant best would be a huge asset for the Bluebirds now.
If we can get Kennedy, Johnson and Gyepes back to their best – I’d back us in the play-offs. Johnson is the leader at the back. Maybe a goal from a free-kick / corner would be just the tonic, Sunday’s crucial clash against Sheffield Wednesday would be an ideal time to get it !
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