JANUARY STRIKER CONUNDRUM FOR BLUEBIRDS

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JANUARY STRIKER CONUNDRUM FOR BLUEBIRDS

Postby Sven » Thu Oct 07, 2021 11:31 pm

Cardiff City's big transfer hope has proved a desperate struggle and throws up inevitable January problem


By Glen Williams

Friday 8th October 2021


The Bluebirds pinned their hopes on a small number of new players after a big clearout of 13 players at the Cardiff City Stadium but all has not gone according to plan.



"He's doing what he's been brought in to do - score goals."

That was Mick McCarthy's understandably glowing verdict on James Collins during pre-season.

James Collins in the Championship after 13 games has had 16 shots on goal, 12 of which have been inside the penalty area and zero goals, the ball has been put in the box to him on all these occasions.



At the time, Cardiff City's latest striker signing simply could not stop putting the ball in the back of the net in pre-season friendlies against non-league clubs. He looked like someone who had slotted seamlessly into the Bluebirds' squad and was ready to make his mark when the season began.

His form during the summer was also cause for much excitement among City fans. They knew his promising goalscoring record at Luton Town beforehand and there was hope that he would be able to continue in a similar vein with the Bluebirds.

In fact, the prospect of Collins starting up front with Kieffer Moore was genuinely exciting, but not one goal in the Championship after 13 games by Collins.

"Those two will be a right handful together," McCarthy bullishly predicted after the Republic of Ireland international netted one of his four pre-season goals against Forest Green Rovers.

The manager had no reason to believe, from what he had seen both during his time in charge of him at international level and his few few weeks as a Cardiff player, that Collins would struggle so much in the early throes of the season.

He has scored more than 10 league goals in each of his last five seasons - two of which saw him surpass the 20-mark in League 1 and League 2 - and that is an area in which Cardiff desperately needed reinforcement.

Moore's stellar campaign last season saw him bag 20 goals himself, but City found themselves scratching around for consistent goals elsewhere.

Collins, it was hoped, would ease that burden on Moore.

It is far too early to be writing him off, of course, he is an experienced campaigner and, as McCarthy said recently, one goal will surely spark a surge.

But no one envisaged that Collins would be 13 games into his Bluebirds career with his goalscoring account still unopened.

The Gary Madine comparisons are a little premature — he left the club having scored zero goals in 28 games but, crucially, cost £6million as opposed to Collins' free transfer — but with each passing, goalless game, those fearing such a goal drought become increasingly concerned.

The worry, it is fair to say, is that when Madine was at the club, there were far better attacking players to provide the chances. Cardiff's forward options have diminished greatly in recent seasons and genuine goalscoring chances are now coming at a premium.

That is not to say Collins has not had his opportunities, mind you. In fact, he has had 16 shots on goal, 12 of which have been inside the penalty area.

Only Tahith Chong (17), Darnell Furlong (21) and Callum O'Hare (27) have taken more shots than Collins without scoring in the Championship this season.

And while the service has not been excellent, there have been some pretty glaring misses along the way so far. That close-range header against Coventry City was perhaps the most glaring, while excellent opportunities against Blackpool, when he inexplicably scooped the ball over the bar from inside the six-yard box, and Nottingham Forest, where his effort from yards out was cleared off the line, also spring to mind.

It is not just him, of course. Moore has scored only once after Ryan Giles put it on a plate for him up at Blackpool, while Rubin Colwill is the only other recognised forward to have scored, if you discount Leandro Bacuna, which most people will, from that 'forwards' bracket.

Whether Cardiff's awful form has inhibited Collins from scoring or whether the striker being unable to find the net is one of the many causes behind the Bluebirds' slump is a chicken-and-the-egg scenario, but the player, the manager and the fans are desperate for him to break his duck.

Because at the minute, Cardiff have an out-of-sorts Kieffer Moore, a misfiring James Collins and untested options in Isaak Davies and Chanka Zimba, while Isaac Vassell is looking increasingly unlikely ever to feature for the club again and Mark Harris appears to have found home in the wide areas this term.


It paints a pretty sorry picture and one which will need addressing as a matter of urgency in January, if this current run persists.

It throws up a familiar problem, though, and one which McCarthy answered emphatically in the summer. Do you bolster your squad with recruitment externally or promotion from within?

Well, the trend we have seen this season is the latter, with Tom Davies, Oliver Denham, Tavio d'Almeida, Joel Bagan, Ciaron Brown, Tom Sang, Sam Bowen, Kieron Evans, Colwill and Harris all having played senior football at some point this term after graduating through the academy.

Are Zimba and Davies the next cabs off the rank? Zimba has been in almost unstoppable form in front of goal for the under-23s, while McCarthy is a big admirer of Davies and wanted to hand him his first-team debut against Rotherham on the final day of the season last year, however a cruel injury befell him he day before the game.

It is almost unthinkable that Collins would not be off the mark by January, and many will hope that first one opens the floodgates for him, but if goals continue to be in short supply and the current situation worsens, can the club really afford to simply throw their faith behind a bunch of rookies?

Moore will come good, one suspects, while Collins will hopefully endear himself to the Bluebirds faithful with a bucketload of goals in the next block of fixtures or perhaps, maybe, a South Wales derby winner. Something to kickstart his career in the Welsh capital.

But, if not, how long before pressure mounts on the club to bring in another striker to add competition – and importantly goals?

Indeed, how long before we see that "right handful" front pairing of Moore and Collins which McCarthy was so excited about in pre-season? Might that help stop the rot?

It is nowhere near panic stations just yet and for Collins, who typically flies off the mark at the start of the season if his previous campaigns are anything to go by, this is an alien situation.

However, he will be more determined than anyone to prove to McCarthy and the higher-ups that they do not have a decision to make when that January transfer window opens.
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JANUARY STRIKER CONUNDRUM FOR BLUEBIRDS

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Re: JANUARY STRIKER CONUNDRUM FOR BLUEBIRDS

Postby Scoularite » Fri Oct 08, 2021 1:15 pm

Our problem is in providing enough decent crosses or through balls into the box and having other players as options. If a team only manages to have one target available it's much easier for both defenders to mark and the goalkeeper.
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Re: JANUARY STRIKER CONUNDRUM FOR BLUEBIRDS

Postby JJ1927 » Fri Oct 08, 2021 5:32 pm

Scoularite wrote:Our problem is in providing enough decent crosses or through balls into the box and having other players as options. If a team only manages to have one target available it's much easier for both defenders to mark and the goalkeeper.

I agree. I would like to see him and Moore start. I am sure the two would put defenders under far more pressure.
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Re: JANUARY STRIKER CONUNDRUM FOR BLUEBIRDS

Postby Blueman39 » Sat Oct 09, 2021 3:22 pm

I thought Collins was a great signing but he looks like a League one striker ....
I wonder if he would have signed if he knew we would only have one winger at the club .
Service has been dire but he hasn’t performed.
Hoping he can start firing but he’s just alot of huff and puff from what I’ve seen.
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Re: JANUARY STRIKER CONUNDRUM FOR BLUEBIRDS

Postby pembroke allan » Sat Oct 09, 2021 7:48 pm

Blueman39 wrote:I thought Collins was a great signing but he looks like a League one striker ....
I wonder if he would have signed if he knew we would only have one winger at the club .
Service has been dire but he hasn’t performed.
Hoping he can start firing but he’s just alot of huff and puff from what I’ve seen.



He hasnt moore hasnt Harris hasn't only one who has is flint what does that tell you? No striker in the world will score every time from just one opportunity a half because that's mostly what our forwards get every game... and tbh its been same for years good scorers becoming useless when come to city not a coincidence considering way we've played past 6 yrs or so..
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Re: JANUARY STRIKER CONUNDRUM FOR BLUEBIRDS

Postby Scoularite » Sun Oct 10, 2021 10:22 am

by pembroke allan » Sat Oct 09, 2021 7:48 pm

Blueman39 wrote:
I thought Collins was a great signing but he looks like a League one striker ....
I wonder if he would have signed if he knew we would only have one winger at the club .
Service has been dire but he hasn’t performed.
Hoping he can start firing but he’s just alot of huff and puff from what I’ve seen.



He hasnt moore hasnt Harris hasn't only one who has is flint what does that tell you? No striker in the world will score every time from just one opportunity a half because that's mostly what our forwards get every game...


Absolutely right, plus any striker will lose confidence with so few opportunities.

I enjoy watching matches from the premiership and even the likes of Mo Salah, Raheem Stirling, and Harry Kane will miss "sitters", but they normally have far more opportunities plus other players pulling defenders out of position to create more space.
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Re: JANUARY STRIKER CONUNDRUM FOR BLUEBIRDS

Postby nubbsy » Mon Oct 11, 2021 11:31 pm

What striker conundrum!?

We've got one of the best strikers in the league. This rhetoric that the problem is up top is retarded.
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Re: JANUARY STRIKER CONUNDRUM FOR BLUEBIRDS

Postby JJBlueDraggon » Tue Oct 12, 2021 12:49 am

I think people are being harsh on James Collins. He got into double figures last season for Luton (which was a decent return).

The problem for him at Cardiff is he will have limited game time to make a impact at cardiff as Kieffer Moore is pound for pound the best striker in the league so he will always be ahead of Collins.

That being said, Moore (best striker in the championship) has only 1 more goal to his name than Collins so far this season, which rarely gets mentioned in the Collins debate.

The problem obviously lies with our build up play and maybe not playing to our strikers strengths so far this season.

Despite the defeat, I loved the way we played against Reading though and if we keep playing that way for the rest of the season, Cardiff will start winning plenty of games again and Moore and Collins will start to bag in the goals.
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