“Don`t panic” I hear you say “our future is in our own hands”. True, but if you were betting your house on the final game of the season would you plump for Preston or Burnley, teams on a roll with recent wins against those in the top three, or a demoralised shambles that has shipped eleven goals in a week?
The game`s up I`m afraid. We are running on empty. Roger Johnson`s face at full time said it all as did the tension in Peter Ridsdale`s voice on The Eamon Holmes show on 5Live, and as I trudged leaden-footed away from the ‘celebration` at Ninian Park on Saturday, I had an uncanny feeling that I wouldn`t be provided the opportunity to return.
Cardiff are a side in freefall that is disintegrating in front of our eyes. Our central defence, dominant for so much of the campaign, looks uncertain and accident prone. Since his injury at Crystal Palace Roger Johnson has looked a pale imitation of his former self and Gabor Gypes, increasingly wobbly, was responsible for two of the three goals conceded against Ipswich. Ledley and Rae are invariably second best in midfield and Parry looks washed-up. Burke has played brightly in the last two matches but may be viewed as a luxury by a management team that will probably try and grind its way out of trouble. Up front Bothroyd and Chopra are clearly carrying injuries that have reduced their effectiveness to mere bit-players. McCormack looks increasingly frustrated and cut a lonely, dispirited figure at the post match celebration.
What`s to be done? If you`ve got any sense get down to the bookies and bet on home wins for Burnley and Preston next weekend. Hand`s up how many of you think, on current form, that we will avoid defeat at Sheffield Wednesday. No, I thought not?.
More constructively, someone with a recent birthday once wrote “sweet are the uses of adversity”. Dave Jones needs to take a long hard look at the wreckage around him and come up with some different answers to the same old questions being posed. I never thought I would say this but I would prefer Darren Purse to either of our centre backs at the moment. He`s unsophisticated, but what we need now is a good old- fashioned clenched fist approach.
Preston are flogging DVD`s celebrating the debacle of Deepdale complete with cover photo of Mark Kennedy receiving ironic ‘congratulations` from Preston players after his own goal. The commercial manager at Hillsborough must be salivating over the potential revenue earner represented by our visit next weekend. Unsurprisingly, Ipswich fans yesterday launched into a chorus of ‘Premiership, you`re havin` a laugh` and for the first time this season I found myself agreeing with them.