Cardiff City boss Russell Slade looks set to thrust star striker Kenwyne Jones back into his starting side as he desperately seeks to end the Bluebirds’ remarkable goal drought.
Slade and his men entertain Reading in the Championship this weekend hoping to find the net for the first time after nearly a staggering nine hours of football.
Joe Mason was the last Cardiff player to score, five minutes into the draw at Brighton a month ago, although a George Friend own goal in the clash with Middlesbrough did ensure the Bluebirds have at least won one game since.
But they crashed 1-0 at Leeds midweek and despite being three points off sixth-place, Slade’s side are starting to lose touch with those above that and they need to return to winning ways against the Royals this weekend.
Slade said the return of Jones, who has been out with a shin injury, but who came off the bench at Elland Road, was a big positive moving forward.
“It is very good news that Kenwyne is back, it is a massive boost for us,” said Slade.
“It has been very frustrating to have to be without him following his injury on international duty and having him back gives us more options.
“You need to have players who offer different threats and we have not had enough of that in recent games as we have been a bit limited in terms of the forwards we have had available.
“So it is very positive for us to have him back, with Idriss (Saadi) and Kiko (Macheda) also close, and we know the threat he carries.”
Slade insisted he had been working with his men all week to try to get them to create more chances and to finally put one away starting this weekend. But he admitted the goal-shy nature of his men had cost the Bluebirds a place in the play-off places.
When games come thick and fast, we only have small windows to work on stuff,” added Slade.
“The final ball, crosses, we are working on all sorts of things. All the things we talk about and work on. We are probably missing that. We know we are probably not in the top six because decision making in the final third was not as good as others. Other teams are edging us. We need to work on creativity and composure in the final third.
“We have got quality and the desire to get a goal, but now it’s not a happening for us for lots of little reasons
“It will be the fact maybe other teams have one or two more options, it may well be that teams are clearly creating more chances than us. They’re having more shots on target than us and got that extra little bit of composure. That’s something we need to work on.”
Cardiff will be without Peter Whittingham against Reading after the midfielder picked up his fifth yellow card of the season at Leeds. He will now serve a one match suspension. Full-back Fabio is out with a foot problem and Kagisho Dikgacoi will also miss the game with a hamstring strain.