Mick McCarthy saw his Cardiff City side slump to only a second defeat yesterday since his January appointment after going down 1-0 to Nottingham Forest.
James Garner’s first-half goal was the difference between the two sides as McCarthy had to put up with injuries to his defence, which may have been a factor for the goal going in.
The Bluebirds’ chances of the play-offs are fading away, especially after Bournemouth disposed of Middlesbrough 3-1, and a growing injury list may put paid to McCarthy’s hope that they can still reach the top six.
The manager will have some dilemmas to think about though ahead of their trip to Hillsborough against Sheffield Wednesday on Easter Monday – let’s look at two of them.
A formation change?
Since McCarthy joined – aside from his first game against Barnsley – he has used three centre-backs in every single league game, which was a change for the Bluebirds who played 4-4-2 or 4-2-3-1 under Neil Harris.
But with an injury to leading centre-half Sean Morrison which may keep him out of Monday’s clash and no fit left-wing-back to choose from as Joel Bagan and Joe Bennett are out for the rest of the season, it could be time for a change.
Joe Ralls filled in at wing back yesterday but he’s naturally a central midfielder, and if McCarthy chooses to bring back a four defender system, then Ciaron Brown could easily shift out to left-back.
It’s a hard puzzle to solve but it may require McCarthy to shift from a formation that has generally brought the Bluebirds good results.
If you don’t get at least 15/20 on this Cardiff City midfielder quiz, can you really call yourself a Bluebirds fan?
Time to bring Hoilett in from the cold?
Canadian winger Hoilett has featured just once for McCarthy since he arrived in the Welsh capital, lasting 50 minutes against Barnsley before being taken off.
He has been on the bench for the majority of the games since without coming off of it, and for a player who has been supplying regular goal contributions for years, it’s a mystery as to why McCarthy doesn’t seem to fancy him.
Granted, Cardiff do have a lot of options in the attacking midfield area, with the likes of Harry Wilson, Sheyi Ojo, Josh Murphy and Mark Harris to choose from as well, but even youngster Ruben Colwill has jumped ahead of Hoilett in the pecking order.
Is it time for Hoilett to get another chance? He may provide a spark that Cardiff were missing yesterday.