At one point this season, Cardiff City looked destined for the play-offs following Mick McCarthy’s mid-season arrival, despite initial disappointment that he was even appointed.
The Bluebirds went on a 10-match unbeaten run after previously faltering under former boss Neil Harris, with dreams of a second successive season in the top six almost becoming a reality.
Unfortunately though the wheels somewhat fell off in the space of a few games – Cardiff lost three of their next five matches, including a humiliating 5-0 defeat to Sheffield Wednesday which really knocked them out of contention.
It’s looking like a promising end to the season though for McCarthy and it’s now all about momentum heading into the summer – he will get a full transfer window to shape the squad how he sees fit.
There could be some big decisions to be made though for McCarthy and the club – let’s look at two that may have to be deliberated on in the next few months.
Whether to stick with his three centre-back system
Aside from McCarthy’s first game in charge against Barnsley in January, the former Ireland boss has used either a 3-5-2 or a 3-4-3 formation in every single Championship game.
It was a big change from Neil Harris’ tactics, who for the first half of the season played either a 4-4-2 or a 4-2-3-1, but McCarthy’s switch generated results initially.
There has been times though where it just hasn’t worked and injuries have played a big part of that – midfielder Joe Ralls has had to fill in at left-wing-back on occasion and one of Perry Ng or Tom Sang, both naturally right-sided players – have had to come across to the other side of the pitch to take Joe Bennett’s place.
Does McCarthy stick with those three centre-backs of Sean Morrison, Aden Flint and Curtis Nelson next season? For the most part it has worked so you wouldn’t argue against it, but summer signings will dictate his decision and definite strengthening needs to be done in the wing-back areas.
Did Cardiff City sign each of these 19 players on a free transfer or not?
Cash in on Kieffer Moore?
One player who is bound to attract interest from bigger, richer clubs is Moore, who just seems to be getting better and better every season.
The Wales international has hit 20 goals for the Bluebirds this season and poses a unique skill-set in being an athletic target-man – something which many teams could do with going into next season.
Strikers who score 20 goals in the Championship often command a high fee – just look at the prices that Adam Armstrong and Ivan Toney are being linked with moves away for – and Moore could put himself in the shop window even further at EURO 2020 this summer when Wales take on Italy, Switzerland and Turkey in the group stages.
Cardiff fans will be desperate to keep hold of Moore, especially as they haven’t been able to watch him play live in the flesh yet, but an eight-figure bid from a Premier League team could force the club’s hand.