Cardiff City’s creative contingent was dented significantly in the summer with Harry Wilson and Sheyi Ojo returning to their parent clubs and Josh Murphy being sent to Preston North End on loan.
Marley Watkins and Gavin Whyte also left at the beginning of the campaign, the latter in a loan move to Oxford United, leaving a clear lack of invention and ideas in the final third.
That dearth in creativity directly led to the sacking of Mick McCarthy with the Bluebirds extremely reliant of goals from set pieces to keep them in games.
Ryan Giles has stepped up to the mantle and alongside the likes of Mark Harris and Rubin Colwill Cardiff have made a good fist of their relegation battle at times, but Steve Morison will be hoping to add some knowhow in the final third come the turn of the year.
Here, we have taken a look at three attack-minded midfield upgrades Cardiff should target in January…
Starting with the most expensive of the trio and a player that may be deemed too pricey for the Bluebirds’ cost-cutting tactics of late. Scully has gone from strength to strength at Lincoln City in the last couple of seasons and is destined for the step up to the second tier in the near future.
Equally comfortable in wide areas, Scully can operate as a very nimble number ten and could combine very effectively with Kieffer Moore if given the opportunity.
The sole loan option in the list, Dowell has struggled for regular game time at Norwich City this season, making just three league starts, but has a lot experience and success behind him as a Championship loanee. Nottingham Forest, Sheffield United, Derby County and Wigan Athletic have all profited from Dowell’s presence in years gone by and the Bluebirds could be the next club to provide a platform for the 24-year-old.
Quiz: What club do these 20 ex-Cardiff City strikers play for now?
The cheaper option is Dylan Bahamboula.
The 26-year-old playmaker has been an elite creator at League Two level with Oldham Athletic in the last season and a half. With the Latics scrapping at the bottom of the fourth tier the Bluebirds should certainly have the financial wherewithal to persuade the Congolese to try his hand in the second tier.
Bahamboula has registered 11 goals and ten assists since the beginning of last season and may provide value in the market.