Saturday Football Spotlight: Cardiff City’s Fraizer Campbell

As Cardiff prepare to face Everton this afternoon, Vincent Ralph turns the spotlight on the Bluebirds' in-form striker.

It isn’t often I pick players from the same team for consecutive Saturday Spotlights. But after focusing on Cardiff City’s Craig Bellamy last weekend – as he prepared to face his former club Manchester City – it's now the turn of the player who upset the odds in that very match.

Fraizer Campbell’s two goals in Cardiff’s 3-2 win on Sunday may not have been the most outstanding of efforts, but they were no less important.

As he headed Malky Mackay’s side into an ultimately unassailable lead, Campbell turned back the years on a career that threatened to hit the heights only to head towards the buffers instead.

A product of Manchester United’s youth system, Campbell rarely had the opportunity to impress at Old Trafford, but loan spells showed just how good he was in front of goal – most notably at Royal Antwerp and Hull City, where he scored 38 goals in two seasons. Arguably his biggest impact at United, though, was the footnote he became in the deal to bring Dimitar Berbatov from Tottenham in 2008.

That move was again on loan, but Campbell failed to rediscover his goal-scoring exploits at White Hart Lane, scoring just three goals in 12 appearances.

Perhaps it was then that his career took a temporary wrong turn, because despite Hull’s great desire to sign Campbell permanently, he ultimately moved to Sunderland, where a serious injury saw his impressive debut season overshadowed by two years of set-backs and recovery.

But fast-forward to his January move to Cardiff, and it seems the former wonder-kid is making up for lost time.

His two goals against City came after he scored seven in just 12 games for the Bluebirds last season. And as he prepares to face Everton this afternoon, he'll know Cardiff’s top flight status could depend on the accuracy of his feet…and his head.

Still only 25, Campbell has the chance to be whatever he wants to be. And just as it took Cardiff time to reach the Premier League, so it has taken their striker a while to rediscover the form that once marked him out as one of England’s most promising young forwards.

Not that he will be looking too far ahead; a man who has missed so many games through bad luck and injury will surely just enjoy each new 90 minutes. And in that frame of mind, you wouldn’t bet against him scoring again this afternoon.

How important will Campbell prove to be this season ?  And how many goals do you think he will finish the campaign with ?

image: © joncandy

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