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Disappointing City have lots to ponder.

Cardiff City's defeat at Ipswich yesterday was irrelevant in the context of the season, but just how do we sum up the last 10 months or so for the Bluebirds?

Well, I think you have to say that it went from being one of the most promising campaigns ever to one of the most disappointing.

It's a bit of an over-used cliche but it really has been a rollercoaster - incredible highs to inexplicable lows.

I've said enough in the last couple of weeks or so about the collective failure so I'd like to now focus on individuals.

For me there are three players who stand out, three players who can look back on their effort with a certain amount of pride.

The first is Michael Chopra.

Now I know he blotted his copybook with his stupid sending off against QPR which prematurely ended his season.

But you have to judge him on his record.

He came to Ninian Park saying he would score 20 goals, and he has done just that.

In addition, for the most part, his performance levels have been high and the biggest compliment you can pay him is to point to the way the team functions without him.

It's totally impotent.

The second player I'd like to credit is Roger Johnson.

This fellow to me has guts.

He could have stuck with his nice comfortable life as captain of Wycombe and living in one of the most affluent parts of the country.

But no, he took up the challenge of playing at a higher level in Wales at a club with next to no facilities and it is a decision that has paid off.

The other thing in Johnson's favour is that for a long time he had to be patient and content with a place on the bench.

He didn't lose heart and did what all good professionals should do, he kept his head down and took his chance when it came along, always making it hard for Dave Jones to leave him out.

Amid all the insipidness and lethargy that has characterised the end of season slump, Johnson's combativeness and leadership at the back has shone like a beacon.

Then you have Kevin McNaughton.

He started the season like an express train, showing magnificent form. His best assets are undoubtedly his sheer fitness, his speed and his willingness to get forward and back down the left flank.

McNaughton has also been versatile enough to do a decent job at centre-half when the situation has required it.

He had a bit of a sticky patch in the middle of the season when a dip in form coincided with the team's dismal 13-game winless run.

But he came through that and ends the season as a real plus point for me.

On the flip side I'm sure there will be players who are not with the club next term, and there could be a few surprises on that front.

For instance, where now for Paul Parry? The fact he was left out of the Wales squad in midweek spoke volumes and while he may be contracted, I wouldn't be surprised if he moves on because he's done himself no favours in recent months.

I can't see any way Steve Thompson will be at the club next season. He's an honest battler but his goals record is appalling.

It's clear too that fringe players like Kevin Campbell, Iwan Redan and Luigi Glombard will be packed off as well.

Dave Jones will earn his corn this summer. It's up to him to breath new life into Cardiff City.
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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:May 7, 2007
Words:600
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