I don’t know Kenwyne Jones. I certainly can’t remember playing against him in the last few seasons of my career or even saying hello to the guy.
But I am certain he’s a highly effective centre-forward, particularly at Championship level, and it’s difficult to fathom why he has been allowed to join Championship leaders Bournemouth on loan.
For me he should have stayed with Cardiff City as they make plans to start 2015-16 on the front foot.
It’s clear the financial rewards for the club in giving their go-ahead to the deal were significant, including a loan fee plus a bonus if the Cherries go up, but it’s crucial City challenge hard for promotion next season and Jones must be part of that bid.
Right now, though, manager Russell Slade’s team are stuck in mid-table mediocrity and Jones is preparing to give Bournemouth’s title challenge a boost over their last seven fixtures.
Okay, that’s a great temporary move for Jones, who will pose a substantial forward threat for Bournemouth, but Slade is left to get on with his plans for the future without him.
City currently have seven senior strikers under contract and in line to be part of the squad next season. If I had to choose three of them now it would be Jones plus Adam Le Fondre, currently out on loan at Bolton, and Joe Mason, who is just back from a spell with Bolton and is regaining fitness after a bad hamstring strain.
For me the other four, Eoin Doyle, Federico Macheda, Nicky Maynard and Alex Revell still have a fair bit to prove.
Jones will link up with Bournemouth early next week to start preparing for their next fixture, at Ipswich next Saturday.
He is Cardiff’s top scorer on 13 goals, but apparently hasn’t been guaranteed a start with Bournemouth. I reckon he will make a significant impact on their season and I hope the Cherries play him in the right way.
I’ve been a bit perplexed about the way Slade has used Jones at times this season, playing him too deep in a sort of No.10 support role.
Why on earth would you do that? The way to get the best out of Jones is to play him as an out-and-out centre-forward.
He can take on both central defenders, give them a bruising time and that’s when the likes of Doyle or Revell can support and make the most of chances he can create.
But Slade has sometimes used him in deep and that doesn’t make sense. He is not that style of player.
Opposing defenders will love to see Jones sitting back and out of their faces. It’s not as if City have another striker who is technically gifted or lightning quick to lead the attack instead. They don’t.
It’s puzzled me why Jones was being asked to play a withdrawn role which seems to expose any weaknesses he has.
And now he’s off to the seaside. It’s not as if Bournemouth are a bigger club than Cardiff, far from it, but they are top of the table and in a much better position.
Most fans would say their manager, Eddie Howe, is among the best young coaches around and I’d like to think he will use him in the right way.
Callum Wilson is Bournemouth’s top scorer. He has great movement and an eye for goal. Wilson and Jones could be a potent partnership.
I can see the big man tying up Championship defenders with sheer physical presence, allowing Wilson to run in behind. That’s a role I once had with Sheffield United and it’s a beautiful thing to be given that job. I loved it. There is a real freedom being able to watch your strike partner take the bangs and bruises while you run in to pick up the pieces and hopefully score goals.
Slade has said that the departures of Matt Connolly to Watford and Jones to Bournemouth are for business reasons. That really means they are cost cutting measures.
I can understand that City are mid-table and can’t really achieve anything this season, but they are trying to rebuild and it says a lot about our club’s ambition when they are cutting costs at this stage.
Maybe the days of big money signings have gone, but those players don’t always make the best team. Bournemouth have done it without splashing out massive money, Southampton in the Premier League have built steadily and are up there competing with the top clubs.
The task for Slade is to ensure he signs the right calibre of players to ensure he has a group who, working together, can become a successful team. It’s going to be tough next season. Three clubs will come down from the Premier League, probably three from Sunderland, Burnley, QPR and Leicester, while Bournemouth, Watford, Middlesbrough, Norwich, Derby and Ipswich are battling for promotion. Three of them will miss out and, along with the three coming down, are sure to push on even harder next season.
Right now it’s difficult to see Cardiff competing against those clubs. I wish Slade all the best and would love him to prove me wrong, but there is a lot of work ahead if that is to happen. He will have to add a few more players who can make a quick impact.
There is no room for sentiment as Slade plans for the future. He needs a committed group who are ready for the Championship battle and anybody who falls short in the fitness stakes should be moved on.
Seven games to go and the Bluebirds must now plan ahead. The pressure is growing already and Slade must deliver in terms of a solid start next season. We all need to see Bluebirds’ progress.