I mentioned the injury picked up by Nicky Maynard during the win at Millwall in my last piece and I’m afraid the news on it isn’t good – it’s been confirmed that he will be having an operation shortly on a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his knee. Malky Mackay, who suffered a similar injury during his playing career, stated that typically the recovery time in cases like Maynard’s is seven to nine months which means that might be a chance of him returning right at the end of the campaign, but our manager conceded that it’s more likely that the player’s season is over after just three matches in a Cardiff shirt.
To lose someone who we paid so much for (in terms of both transfer fee and wages) has to be a big blow to our ambitions for the season, but with Helguson, Mason, Velikonja and Gestede in the squad we still have quite a few forward options and the arrival of more aggressively minded midfield players such as Kim Bo-Kyung, Noone, Bellamy and Smith (the latter two could be used as strikers as well) means that we have sufficient choices up front so as not to make that the recruitment of another striker on loan is an absolute must. The likes of Mason (under used so far in my opinion) and Velikonja (probably the most similar player we have to Maynard in terms of pace and finishing) surely need to be given their chance to establish themselves as Maynard’s replacement over the coming weeks before we start looking outside the club for strikers.
One forward who will not be getting an opportunity in Maynard’s absence is Robert Earnshaw who has joined Israeli team Maccabi Tel Aviv on loan until the end of the season. Although Malky Mackay mentioned that City could call the player back in January, the fact that Earnie has played no part in our season so far says that this is most unlikely to happen and with him being in the last year of his contract, it may well be that one of our most popular players of recent times has played his last game for Cardiff.
Another of our “forgotten men” left the club in the middle of the week with Dekel Keinan returning to his homeland when he signed for his first club Maccabi Haifa on a free transfer. At least Earnie had appeared occasionally on the substitute’s bench at times over the past few months, but, apart from the occasional game, like Northampton, where Malky Mackay selected a shadow team, Keinan was miles away from first team contention and he must surely have welcomed the chance to resurrect a career that was going nowhere at Cardiff.
So, although three players who were on our books early this week are no longer available for Malky Mackay to pick, the truth is that only one of them was ever likely to be. Hopefully we have the resources to cover for Nicky Maynard, but it will still be good to get him back and fully fit as soon as possible – best of luck to Earnie and Keinan at their new clubs as well.