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Cardiff City 2 v 1 Southampton
SkyBet Championship
Saturday, 20th April 2024 Kick-off 15:00
Alex McCarthy Or Joe Lumley That Is The Question For Russell Martin
Friday, 19th Apr 2024 07:56

With the news that Gavin Bazunu is going to be out for the rest of the season and more than likely a lot longer and into the next one, the question is who will be Russell Martin's first choice keeper for the crucial last games of the season.

When Joe Lumley was signed on an out of contract free transfer back in August and was then subsequently installed as the back up keeper on the bench by Russell Martin, it was assumed that barring a crisis Alex McCarthy had played his last game for the club.

It was assumed that Lumley was signed because he had the ability with his feet to play the possession football game that Martin is so fond of, whilst McCarthy didn't.

So when Gavin Bazunu pulled out of the side on Tuesday after injuring himself in the warm up it was a big shock to see that McCarthy who was not on the bench was leapfrogged into the starting line up ahead of Lumley.

So the big question for the trip to Cardiff City is which keeper will be between the sticks on Saturday afternoon.

Perhaps the biggest shock that McCarthy should get the nod on Tuesday was his lack of game time, his only appearance of the season had been back in August in the debacle that was the trip to Gillingham in the League cup, Lumley had a little more practice having played in the FA Cup 4 times in the past months.

Indeed McCarthy game time has been little in recent seasons, last season he played just 9 times, a few cup games and the last 6 in the Premier League that saw him concede 17 goals.

In 2021/22 he played just 17 times, all but 2 in the first few months of the season, in simple terms he had barely played in the last 2 1/2 seasons.

Lumley in contrast was Reading's first choice keeper in the Championship last season and Middlesbrough's number one the season before that, in simple terms over the past 2/3 years he has played a lot of games whereas McCarthy hasn't.

But the choice for Russell Martin isn't as simple as who has played the most regularly of late, or even who is the best keeper, it is about possession football.

On Tuesday the possession game was not implemented as it had been for the other games this season, but was this a deliberate change of tactics or was it the fact that Preston were pushed back and did not press for fear of getting slaughtered.

When we had the ball at the back we had plenty of time to go forward with it, we were rarely pressed, so although it was most definitely a possession game being played, it was not along the back line.

If Russell Martin want to continue with his way of playing to the maxim, then Alex McCarthy is probably not his man and Lumley has to return.

Gavin Bazunu might not have been everyone's favourite keeper, but he fitted into the possession game, at times he was played into big trouble by his defence, but mostly he got himself out of hit, but the fans don't remember the hundreds of times he played the ball under pressure to a team mate, just the occasional cock up.

Joe Lumley will fit into the possession game, but Alex McCarthy won't, his work with his feet was not great when we weren't playing possession football, so I am not sure that he can play it now.

That means Russell Martin will have to modify his game, certainly if McCarthy plays the fans will see the keeper launch the ball up field under pressure, put bluntly ha will have to he hasn't the ball playing skills to risk much else.

So a big big decision for Russell Martin at Cardiff and indeed the rest of the season

Reports that Russell Martin was seen in Sports Direct with Jack Stephens trying on goal keeping gloves are yet to be confirmed

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DellBoyWally added 09:15 - Apr 19
Joe Lumley for me. Showed his stopping skills too when he played

SaintPaulVW added 09:25 - Apr 19
Think now he's had a few days to set the team up, I'm expecting Lumley. Much better with his feet which suits the chosen style of play.

Take your point on people ignoring all the good work Bazunu does to focus on the negatives. If you watch him during games his footwork and positioning for cover is superb.

However virtually every team is missing supposedly key players at this point in the season.

ElSanto added 09:36 - Apr 19
"Reports that Russell Martin was seen in Sports Direct with Jack Stephens trying on goal keeping gloves are yet to be confirmed"

Hahaha, bit of craic

Flamingbankers added 10:48 - Apr 19
Martin had to have a good reason for playing McCarthy over Lumley but he didn't because Martin said he just wanted to see how McCarthy 'got on'. An unprofessional decision, in my humble opinion, considering we needed to win the game against a play-off contender. That for me was a risk too far and totally unwarranted. Although Saints played well, Martin got lucky as Preston might as well not have turned up. It'll be different against Cardiff on Saturday.

PatfromPoole added 11:10 - Apr 19
McCarthy for me.

Has more big-match experience and less likely to be fazed by the big games we are about to face.

Remember his performances for us towards the end of the 2017/18 season in big atmosphere games when we stayed up by the skin of our teeth. Boscombe at home, Swansea away, he was excellent.

Monksway added 11:16 - Apr 19
Good points about game time and relative experience. I'd personally commit to Lumley as he will be here next year whether we go up or not. However, I expect RM's decision will be primarily determined by his goalkeeping coaches who work closely with them every day.

Farlow added 11:28 - Apr 19
With each game a cup final i think experience is key,so its Macarthy for me.It was no coincidence we played so well the other night,we did not tip tap at the back so much
cause i guess the players arent as confident in Macarthy,s skill with his feet.

highfield49 added 14:19 - Apr 19
I'm not a fan of McCarthy, too many unforced errors for a player of his experience. However, even though Preston didn't put him under any significant pressure, I thought his ability on the ball was much improved. Admittedly nowhere near Bazunu's footwork but he distributed the ball with some accuracy and control.
I could almost cut and paste most of the above in respect of Jack Stephens. Jack has also looked more comfortable on the ball in recent weeks and I can only presume that the coaches work with every player in order to raise their confidence and control whilst in possession.
Whatever the reality of the above I think Lumley should be selected for the remaining fixtures, unless there are underlying reasons why he didn't play against Preston.

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