Seems that once Suzanne’s favourite grandmother smiles on you she really does the business. Two last-minute goals to give two away wins. I’d like to congratulate Pardew and the team (along with those who actually went to either game) for a great response to the problems and criticisms post-QPR, but I know where the credit really lies. Please Marie just make sure that as with pre-blanquette de veau disasters our triumphs come in threes – and then let me know what I’ve got to cook to keep the run going. If we win on Saturday and I hear nothing more I’ll assume that it’s one meal gets us three wins and plan accordingly.
Despite the triumphs, the booing issue is bound to crop up again on Saturday. And this time I’ll be on my feet howling along with the best of them. Welcome back Jimmy Floyd. Most of the time I can’t be bothered to get at returning players. Scott Parker probably deserved the initial reaction from the Valley faithful but took it on the chin and for me that was good enough (although if he comes back with West Ham I’ll be booing them generally as if there was any fair play in the Premiership they would have been relegated, quite possibly instead of us). And let’s face it Danny Mills would get a hard time when he came back but we’re quite happy now to cheer him to the rafters.
There’s just something that still sticks in the throat about JFH. He was the signing that was going to get the best out of Darren Bent, they guy that would give us the craft that had been missing. It isn’t necessary to go over what we actually got: an unfit, load-mouth waste of space. He stirred himself to score against Chelsea and Middlesboro. If it hadn’t been for him and Marcus Bent we would have brought in someone else. Whoever that might have been he couldn’t have done a worse job for us.
It’s not as if Jimmy has shown any contrition (if he had any sense he would expect a very rough ride on Saturday and perhaps say something in advance about sometimes moves just not working out for both parties etc). In one of the Championship highlights early this season on Cardiff he was talking about strikers sometimes only being rated on what they did in their most recent season. Damn right they should be. If you score on Saturday please don’t expect a repeat of the polite applause that you got at Stamford Bridge. If there’s any justice Jimmy you’ll just play your normal game. That’ll be bad enough for us.
Had a glance through one of the Cardiff supporters’ sites just to see if they are disgusted with him yet. Seems not yet. Complaints seem to focus on the drawbacks of playing Fowler and Hasselbaink together rather than the latter’s inability to run. The impression was that there is something of a crisis going on at Cardiff, with many fans calling for Dave Jones to be sacked and with Ridsdale locked in a legal dispute over the financing of the club. It looks very much like a case of disappointed expectations with discontent growing, not surprisingly, following a failure to beat even Palace.
That said, Cardiff’s away form isn’t bad, with two wins and three draws out of six. They’ve scored more (10) away in fewer games. But the two away wins came early in the season, against QPR and Norwich, and in the last four they’ve lost one and drawn three. It looks to me like a game in which if we score first (something we failed to do in the three lost recently) we should go on to win.
Two away wins in a row and suddenly we do have something in common with our last promotion season. More points secured away than at home. But Pardew must have some selection problems. Presumably Semedo will come back in for Racon, but the big decision is whether playing one up front is acceptable at home. Given available resources I think it has to be, assuming all are fit. Having finally put one in the net with his head Big Chris must be feeling good having repeated the experience last night. Varney has played his part. But the facts are that one up front allows us to play Reid inside without being overrun and with only three first-choice strikers 4-4-2 means our only option being to bring on McLeod.
On the subject of options, the BBC reported Gillingham manager Mark Stimson as being ‘full of praise’ for the in-form Chris Dickson after the forward's goalscoring display in the draw with Doncaster. “Chris has got natural talent, a natural talent to put the ball in back of the net and he scored a great goal," Stimson said. "He is a very good athlete, he causes defenders problems with his style. He has now scored five goals in six games and when you have somebody on form like that, you have to play him."
This does sound a little strange from a manager who recently was pleading with Pardew to allow Dickson to stay. I would have expected more of the ‘he needs the games and the experience’ line. I know the standard’s different, but without Todorov we need another forward. Either it’s a loan signing, or the chequebook comes out in January, or Dickson comes back after his loan and gets a chance, presumably at least at first on the bench as a late impact player.