Should David Marshall start against Palace?
In recent years, a trend has emerged regarding goalkeeper selection, it has now become common place for clubs to field their reserve keeper in cup ties, even if the rest of the side remains more or less first choice.
Both Crystal Palace and Cardiff have adhered to this tradition in the Carling Cup, with Lewis Price and Tom Heaton both enjoying rare playing time, although Palace opted to restore Speroni for the first leg of the semi final, whereas Cardiff kept faith with Heaton.
Although neither goalkeeper had a great deal to do in a game of few chances, Heaton made an error leading up to the Palace goal that appeared to be due to either a lack of communication or a misunderstanding between goalkeeper and defence.
Whether or not that incident would have occurred with Marshall in goal is a matter of opinion, crosses are not exactly Marshall's forte after all, but it is safe to assume that Cardiff's first choice back five are more likely to deal with this sort of situation in a decisive manner than an established back four with a deputy goalkeeper.
I think it would be unfair to blame Heaton, especially as he made a terrific save moments before the goal, but it does beg the question of whether Cardiff would be better off sticking with Marshall for the second leg.
Marshall didn't exactly cover himself in glory at the weekend, spilling the ball to a grateful Portsmouth striker to equalise just before half time, but he has been in excellent form this season.
It appeared a close contest ahead of the current campaign as to who Mackay would install as first choice, he eventually opted for Marshall, a choice that I endorse, who in turn responded with a man of the match display at West Ham and has remained in the side on merit.
Heaton has also done little wrong when given the chance, keeping clean sheets in his one and a half league outings and providing a safe pair of hands throughout the Carling Cup campaign. Cardiff are fortunate to have two reliable keepers at their disposal, but ahead of such a high stakes fixture, maybe Palace have the right idea in restoring a more familiar and experienced defensive unit.
Palace appear to be pinning their aspirations for the whole season on this tie, resting the whole side at the weekend and the fixture that preceeded the first leg, losing both games. For a club that made a great start to the current campaign and maintain an outside chance of making the play off's, Dougie Freedman's recent attitude to team selection has been shocking.
Whether or not his actions have been justified remains to be seen, but a first choice eleven, including Speroni, will line up on Tuesday intent on finishing the job and securing a trip to Wembley. I would be very surprised if Mackay selected Heaton ahead of Marshall, whether or not he should is another matter.