Royle prepared to mix it
IT is not about formations - it's about performances.Despite hitting six past Nottingham Forest on Saturday, cagey Blues boss Joe Royle last night hinted he may change a winning formula at Cardiff tonight - to get the right result.
By Derek Davis
IT is not about formations - it's about performances.
Despite hitting six past Nottingham Forest on Saturday, cagey Blues boss Joe Royle last night hinted he may change a winning formula at Cardiff tonight - to get the right result.
Much will depend on the fitness of skipper Jim Magilton who, if passed fit this morning, will play. If he is not fit, a scramble for places will ensue.
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On-loan Monaco midfielder Jimmy Juan has been added to the squad as a precaution, but a lack of match fitness would rule him out of actually starting.
Royle last night said: “A scan has shown that there is a slight tear in Jim's calf but he feels he has a chance of playing, so we will see later.
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“If he doesn't make it we have plenty of midfielders itching to play. Jimmy has not played but has looked very good in training.”
After Tommy Miller's superb display in the centre of midfield on Saturday, it may be difficult for Royle to push the 11-goal star back out to the right flank in a four-man midfield.
Another option if they switch from three-at-the-back with wing-backs is to push Darren Currie wide right with the rejuvenated Matt Richards going as an orthodox left midfielder.
That would leave Ian Westlake to fight it out with Kevin Horlock to play alongside Miller in the centre.
If Town stick to a five-man midfield then it could be the line-up which started the second half on Saturday, with Currie, Miller and Westlake running the show and Fabian Wilnis and Richards as wing-backs.
Royle said: “That formation was right for the Forest game, as that is how they played and we matched them up. However we play, it is not about formations - it is about performances.
“We need a repeat of how we played on Saturday, with the players doing the same again.”
Royle appreciates that Cardiff will be looking to stifle Town first and foremost and acknowledges that, although off the pitch City have been in disarray, on it Lennie Lawrence has used the crisis to his advantage.
He said: “Events like this can galvanise a team. They have developed a siege mentality and have got some good results recently.
“In (Danny) Gabbidon and (James) Collins they have a good defensive pairing but I would always back Shefki (Kuqi) and Darren (Bent).”
Richard Naylor has been a slight concern with a tight hamstring but is fine, while Wilnis and Miller finished Saturday's win with slight niggles but are also expected to be fit.
The Blues have not lost at Ninian Park in nearly 40 years, although they have only played there five times since the defeat in November, 1965.
The last visit was a 3-2 win, after an outstanding first half.
And, even though City's defence is much-vaunted and the attack make-shift, the chances of a 0-0 are pretty slim, as Town's 6-0 victory over Forest was their 60th consecutive league game that has not finished goalless.