Cardiff City have had an underwhelming start to the season but may see their game against struggling Derby County this evening as a chance to get back on track.
The Bluebirds may still be carrying a bit of a relegation hangover, having come down from the Premier League last season.
Neil Warnock’s side are 13th in the Championship as it stands, with just two wins from their first six games.
They may feel that the international break has come at a good time and has given them a chance to gather themselves, address some of the things that haven’t gone to plan and continue to integrate their new signings into the squad.
It has not all been good news, however, and it looks as though the break could have caused the Bluebirds an unusual issue.
Leandro Bacuna has been representing Curacao over the break and, according to the BBC, due to what appears to be poor travel arrangements by his national side only rejoined the side yesterday, just over 24 hours before the game.
Warnock admitted to the BBC that the 28-year-old could be left out at Pride Park due to his late return.
While it is a blow to have Warnock’s options weakened, Bacuna’s omission could be a potential blessing in disguise.
The Curacao international has been a mainstay in Warnock’s side this season, starting in all but one of Cardiff’s Championship games so far.
A versatile player who is comfortable filling in at full-back and across the midfield, he has featured once at right-back this season but has spent the majority of his time in central midfield.
In truth, Bacuna’s performances have been symptomatic of a lacklustre Bluebirds side who have failed to take advantage of what has been, other than their meeting with Fulham, a kind run of games.
In Will Vaulks, the Bluebirds have a player on their bench that can provide some extra bite and dynamism, and this unusual issue could provide him with an opportunity to prove himself.
The 26-year-old joined in the summer on the back of a fantastic season for Rotherham United.
The Millers were relegated at the end of the 2018/19 campaign but the Wales international was a bright spark–providing the joint-most goals (eight) and the most assists (eight) from defensive midfield.
Since joining Cardiff, Vaulks has struggled for opportunities to prove himself, starting only once in the league so far.
If Bacuna is deemed not ready to feature then the former Rotherham captain will surely be the man to step in and he could provide the positivity and dynamism that Warnock’s side need to get their season back on track.