Cardiff City are disappointingly without influential frontman Jay Bothroyd for this weekend`s crunch clash against bitter local rivals Swansea City. For several seasons, we have lacked adequate cover for Bothroyd with the likes of Eddie Johnson, Warren Feeney and Kelvin Etuhu failing to provide anywhere near the contribution we get from Bothroyd.
The problem was all too evident after Bothroyd limped out of the play-off final, we were unable to alter our style and Blackpool took advantage. It was an area that clearly needed addressing over the summer.
Dave Jones probably earmarked a number of players to provide the much-needed cover for Bothroyd, however, those plans were blown out of the water by the surprise deal for Bellamy – a massive coup for the club. Jones then turned to the loan market again for another striker, and was delighted to be able to bring Wolves attacker Andy Keogh to the club.
However, despite being highly regarded at Molineux, Keogh is yet to make an impact at Cardiff City and we are yet to see the clever link-up play and Premiership class we expected. He deputised for Bothroyd as he made his debut in a 2-0 victory over Hull City, and followed that up by appearing in back-to-back defeats at Leicester City and Ipswich Town. A matchwinner in added time against Millwall remains the highlight for Keogh and his last three appearances for the Bluebirds have been from the bench and merely brief cameos.
The goal against Millwall was timely, and a very good finish with a flicked header. Much was due to the quality of the cross (ironically from Jay Bothroyd) and the header was from a standing position and after a clever run rather than seeing Keogh outjump a defender to head home.
We are yet to find Keogh`s role within the current squad. He has featured mainly as a striker, but is clearly not in the Bothroyd mould and we will have to modify our style accordingly if he is to partner Chopra. He can also contribute from either flank, but he lacks the pace or trickery to beat players that Bellamy and Burke offer from out wide. It may be that Keogh`s best position is behind the strikers, but that position is somewhat of a luxury and one we do not seem to require after the clinical form of Bothroyd, Chopra and co.
Keogh may yet replace Bothroyd in the starting line-up to face Swansea City on Sunday, but he should not be considered a ‘replacement` for Bothroyd. This would place far too much pressure and emphasis on him and if selected, it will be up to Jones, Keogh and the other players to devise a different strategy to allow him to excel. To my mind, there are no other players in the Championship capable of playing the ‘Bothroyd role` – and we would be ill-advised to attempt it.
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