Cardiff City goalkeeper Neil Etheridge had a night to forget at Deepdale but will it cost him his place in the starting XI?
The new Bluebirds stopper has enjoyed a bright start to the season with his new club, but Tuesday evening’s calamities meant he was reflected in a different light.
Etheridge was beaten at his near post for Preston’s second goal and his misplaced pass – despite being rushed into a clearance by an offside player – saw him caught off his line from the centre circle as Cardiff slipped to their first league defeat.
One bad performance doesn’t usually cost you your place in the team, but Neil Warnock is a man who can’t stand goalkeeping errors.
Famed for taking veteran goalkeeper Paddy Kenny with him from club to club, Neil Warnock likes to have total trust with his number ones.
Loan keeper Ben Amos quickly found that out last season as a nightmare couple of performances saw him omitted for the rest of the season.
Neil Etheridge has strong competition this season with number three Brian Murphy proving just how reliable he can be last season and new signing Lee Camp also in waiting.
The latter is set to return from injury in less than a fortnight and that may be enough for Etheridge to keep his place for now.
Experienced Championship keeper Lee Camp worked with Warnock at Rotherham United and the very fact he’s been brought to the club shows he and the boss have that trust.
Etheridge has been largely reliable as the Bluebirds enjoyed a fantastic start to the season but when it rains, it pours and the former Walsall keeper will have been left feeling extremely disappointed with his performance against Preston.
Will Brian Murphy replace him for this weekend’s visit of Sheffield Wednesday? Perhaps not, but Etheridge now knows that he will have to perform very well in the next few games to keep his place.
And in many ways, the wake-up call may benefit him because he will be aware of the competition breathing down his neck.
It’s that competition for places that Neil Warnock wanted to create within the squad over the summer and Etheridge will be feeling it more than most over the next fortnight, and indeed for the rest of the season.
A disastrous evening for the Philippines international, but he’s not quite in Ben Amos territory just yet and he should survive in the starting XI to put things right as soon as Saturday.
(Featured image: Ben Sutherland)