A Point Away No Longer Good Enough For Town
Manager Mick McCarthy's well worn mantra that a point away from home is always a point worth having, no longer applies.
He has instilled this into the mindset of the players and all they are doing is what they seem to do best, which is following instructions. That is probably why seven of our last eight matches have ended this way - including our last three on our travels.
Interestingly, Cardiff City drew their last home match 1-1 which is an identical scoreline to the ones we have achieved in our last three away games. This may have been satisfying to McCarthy at the time but not any more it seems.
He is now indicating that a win must be Town's first priority when they visit Wales but he may stick with the same formation, which has kept this eight match unbeaten run going.
' You don't throw the baby out with the bathwater, so there is no need to make drastic changes at this stage,' he reportedly said, when quizzed on a possible strategy shake-up.
And he is becoming increasingly aware that one point away from home is no longer all that satisfactory after all.
This is especially true when it occurs as frequently as it has of late - both at home and away and what Town need most of all just now is a win, to ease the fears of being dragged into a relegation dog-fight, in the closing stages of the season.
There is mixed news on the injury front for the Blues. Steven Taylor is back in training but not yet ready to travel and there are doubts about Kevin Bru (knee) and Kieffer Moore (groin) prior to this one.
Emyr Huws won't play as it is against his parent club but there is a possibility of a change up front for Town, if McCarthy is brave enough to start Brett Pitman, who did splendidly in his four minutes on the field at Oakwell where he set up Tom Lawrence for the equalizer, with an incisive cross into the box.
With both teams in the habit of drawing, this may suggest another one here but Cardiff manager Niel Warnock is determined to stamp out those late goals that are costing him points at the moment.
Since Warnock was appointed in October, Cardiff City have surrendered nine points by conceding goals after the 80th minute and The Bluebirds conceded an injury-time equaliser against Blackburn on Tuesday and defeat at Queens Park Rangers in their previous fixture, came courtesy of an 83rd-minute own goal from Jazz Richards so there is still hope for Town I guess.
Warnock not only has to contend with the late-goal syndrome but also a very long injury list but he remains optimistic and said, 'I still think there will be nine difficult games for our opponents. Some of the teams we'll play against will be more open than Birmingham were.'
They drew 1-1 with them last Saturday at home, when Jutkiewicz scored for the away side after 89 minutes!
Frank Weston - Editor of Vital Ipswich