Often Partisan

The Caddis Controversy

As the season draws it near one thing that seems to have been prevalent over Blues pre-season campaign has been Gary Rowett’s stubborn insistence on playing any other right-back than Paul Caddis. The Scottish defender has racked up 149 league appearances for Blues but there is no guarantee his 150th will come on Saturday against Cardiff.

Judging by what I’ve read on messageboards, the omission of Caddis has got a few people scratching their heads. Caddis has been a steady member of the squad, both while on loan and since he was signed permanently from Swindon Town in 2013. Last season he was dropped for Neal Eardley twice and for Ryan Shotton once by my count, yet returned to the squad each time following the luckless Neal Eardley’s injury woes and Rowett realising Shotton would be better used in the middle.

I think there’s a few reasons why Rowett has looked at other options to the Scot. Firstly, and chief among them I think comes down to Caddis’ diminutive size – at 5’7 he’s pretty short and from what I’ve seen Rowett likes to have a tall backline. I think it’s no coincidence he’s tried Jonathan Spector (6’0) at full back in pre-season – there is a definite Tony Pulis-like need from the Blues manager for a full-back to not be dominated so easily in the air.

Likewise, I think that Rowett is also looking for a full-back who is a bit more defensive than Paul Caddis. This is one of the controversial bits for me, because I’m a fan of an attacking full-back who can support a winger – especially of the ilk of Rowett himself when he played behind Jon McCarthy. I get the impression that Caddis sees himself in more of an attacking light than Rowett wants and it’s almost like Rowett is prepared to try anyone who will stay a little further back and not commit forwards.

The emergence of Josh Cogley in pre-season is bound to put even more pressure onto Caddis. I’m not sure if it was just the kit being a bit unflattering but the Scot looked a bit more corpulent than usual against Solihull Moors in the first friendly I saw and barring Port Vale (which including being in an unfamiliar left back slot for a while) didn’t play that well in pre-season; Cogley on the other hand seized his chance to show what he can do – ironically making both goals in Burslem with beautiful crosses.

I’m almost certain we’ll see Jonathan Spector at full back on Saturday against Cardiff; I wouldn’t be that surprised to see Cogley get a nod on the bench at least in the cup against Oxford United. I guess the onus is on Caddis now to show Rowett why he should be in the team and once again oust a player who would take his place.

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