As Cardiff City travel to Rotherham in a must-win Sky Bet Championship fixture tonight, here are ten observations of Russell Slade’s reign as City manager so far, but should he be backed or sacked as Bluebirds boss?
1. Where’s Fabio?
The Brazillian left-back is nowhere to be seen, after Slade signed Scott Malone from Millwall. But he is a fan favourite at the Cardiff City Stadium and Malone has done little to suggest he merits a starting place in the back four. Verdict: SACK
2. Blue is the colour
Slade’s term has seen the Bluebirds return to their traditional colours, the first game back in blue being a 1-0 win over Fulham. The fans may not be behind the boss, but they have returned to support the boys and make some noise. Verdict: BACK
3. Goals, goals, goals?
Cardiff have scored only five goals in their last nine games, and just two in their last five. And with the departure of striker Adam Le Fondre, a proven marksman at Championship level, it’s been far from free-flowing football. Verdict: SACK
4. Tan backs his man
Love him or hate him, City owner Vincent Tan seems to have finally found a manager he can trust. After the furore over Malky Mackay and Iain Moody and the torrid time endured by Ole Gunnar Solksjaer, Tan wants a solid, dependable man in charge and Slade – despite mixed results – seems to be the man. Verdict: BACK
5. Slow progress
After four-and-a-half months in charge, Cardiff are more or less in the same league position as they were when Solskjaer departed. Fans are becoming restless as the Bluebirds seek a swift return to the top-flight. Verdict: SACK
6. Possession at a premium
In only one match under Slade, have Cardiff enjoyed the lion’s share of possession, the spirited 1-1 draw against Blackburn. The rest of the time, even in victory, they have played long ball football that has bypassed the midfield. Verdict: SACK
7. At Whitt’s end
Midfield linchpin Peter Whittingham is a long way off his best form. The Englishman was sent off for the first time in his career versus Wolves at the weekend and has occasionally been deployed further up-field as a support striker where he has been far from effective. Verdict: SACK
8. New hope
New signings Eoin Doyle, Conor McAleny and Matthew Kennedy have all been bright since joining the club in January, Kennedy winning Man of the Match on debut against Blackburn and Slade will need time to bed the young players into the team. Verdict: BACK
9. Unhappy hunting ground
Slade’s side have failed to win their last five home games, a terrible return considering they enjoyed a winning streak of five consecutive home wins when Slade first took took in October and November. They need to find that form soon. Verdict: SACK
10. Cutting costs
The former-Leyton Orient man has overseen drastic cuts to the bloated wage bill at Cardiff City, with the likes of Kim B0-Kyung, Mats Moeller Daeli and Juan Cala having their contracts cancelled in an attempt to slash overheads. Needs-must as Cardiff adapt to life in the second flight. Verdict: BACK
It has certainly been tough for Slade since arriving to a club wrestling with finances as well as its own identity. The revolving door of playing staff has kept spinning and, despite poor results and even poorer football, Slade seems to have the backing of Tan. That may be crucial to his future at the club and – for now – the board should sit tight and allow the boss to mould his team, with the help of new head coach Paul Trollope.