Time to try Mason and Maynard up front?
Kenny Miller divided opinion during his time at the club. Some felt that Cardiff failed to play to his strengths as he performed a thankless task up front on his own, others felt he was past his best and not clinical enough in front of goal. What cannot be contested is that he played too much, largely due to necessity. That is no longer a problem.
Malky is playing with two up front at present to utilise Nicky Maynard with a partner and Heidur Helguson appears to be ahead of Joe Mason, Robert Earnshaw and Etien Velikonja.
Despite a wealth of available options, there has yet to be any rotation thus far. In the midst of three fixtures in close succession, it will be interesting to see if he alters his favoured line up during the next couple of games.
Strong, physical and good in the air, despite his relative lack of height, Helguson would appear to be the best fit to compliment Maynard, with Rudy Gestede injured once again. In practice, the combination is starting to resemble the unsuccessful pairing of Miller and Earnshaw last season. The combination may eventually work, but Helguson is more than two years Miller's senior, is not as mobile as his predecessor and appears to be struggling at present. I think he will have an important role to play in this campaign, so I hope that Malky will not unnecessarily burn him out in the first half of the season.
After playing the full 90 minutes against Leeds on Saturday, hopefully he will be rested for at least one of the upcoming away fixtures at Millwall and Crystal Palace. If that proves to be the case, my hope is that he will be replaced by Joe Mason as I think that Maynard and Mason could really hit it off as a partnership.
After a stunning debut season, Mason is unfortunate to be out of the side, a victim of the staggering sums of money spent on the team during the summer. With natural football intelligence and great positional awareness, he has the ability to capitalise on Maynard's perpetual movement and the fitness to also interchange roles with him during games.
The alternative would be to alter the shape of the team to accommodate an extra midfielder, with the likes of Aron Gunnarsson, Don Cowie and Kim Bo-Kyung all worthy of regular first team football but currently watching on from the bench. Although an extra body in midfield away from home has it's merits, I think Cardiff still lack a striker capable of leading the line alone.
Cardiff are beginning to look pretty formidable, as you would expect after such substantial investment. If they have designs on automatic promotion, they should be looking to collect maximum points from trips to The New Den and Selhurst Park. By replacing Heidur Helguson with Joe Mason, I think their chances of earning six points would improve considerably.