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5 Things: Bolton Wanderers v Cardiff City

Guest writer Joe Mackenzie offers his thoughts on our 0-1 home loss in the FA Cup fourth round tie with Premiership side Cardiff City.

Jan Kruger

This week, guest writer Joe Mackenzie offers his conclusions drawn from the game:

1) Confidence is at rock bottom

While we went "toe to toe with a team from the Barclays Premier League (in the words of our beloved former manager) for the majority of the first half, the way the team collapsed after conceding was frightening.

A better team than one bottom of the Premiership completely lacking a cutting edge up front until Mats Moller Daehli came off the bench would have taken us apart.

It hints at an underlying lack of confidence and leadership running through the team that, as soon as the goal was conceded, the game plan seemed to fall apart and players were unable to find simple passes.

Cardiff were there for the taking but we were unable to take advantage.

2) Tactics truck

One of the most disappointing things for me was to witness the complete lack of a plan when it came to free-kicks, corners and throw ins.

On more than one occasion we would win a throw-in level with the Cardiff 18 yard box and you would expect somebody to offer the short option, Craig Davies to move to the near corner of the 6 yard box for the long option and movement in between, but the team stood around looking clueless.

The situation at corners and free kicks was similar. Set pieces happen every game and it smacks of a failure on the part of the management that the team have no plan for how to turn them to our advantage.

3) Matt Mills up front

You still have 1 sub left, have just put a midfield playmaker capable of playing a killer pass on and ten minutes to find a goal. What do you do?

Tell Matt Mills to go and stand up front?

If you are going to do that at least put another winger on or try launching the ball at his head, not start trying to play as if he's Pippo Inzaghi.

Another failure on the part of our glorious leader.

4) Managerial Integrity

Going out and blaming your players without taking any responsibility yourself for a 7-1 defeat is one thing, saying a number of them aren't even good enough to play in the Championship is another (when the majority have either played in the premiership before or were signed by you), saying you want to develop the youth players is yet another.

When push comes to shove and you play pretty much exactly the same bunch of supposedly sub-standard players against premiership opposition in the cup rather than give the likes of Vela and Hall a go I would suggest this marks you out as lacking integrity.

5) Andy Lonergan

Lonergan has played well since the injury to Adam Bogdan, but he looked understandably bereft of confidence against Cardiff, following on from conceding 7 goals through no fault.

He failed to come and collect a number of corners and crosses in the first half, and his mistake for the only goal of the game was the type made by a goalkeeper struggling for confidence.

Now that Bogdan is back from injury it may time to at least give Lonergan a rest and allow his morale to recover.

You can follow Joe on Twitter here.