A 3-1 defeat to Aberdeen on Wednesday night means Motherwell will finish this season in the bottom six. It’s disappointing for the Steelmen, but considering where they were before Christmas, it’s a surprise they are even in contention for a place in the top six. One positive to come out of the Pittodrie clash though was more minutes for Chris Cadden.
The Scotland international hadn’t featured since November after tearing his patella tendon. That was until his substitute appearance against St Johnstone last time out at Fir Park, where he performed well on his 26 minute return. He featured for another 14 against the Dons as he steps up his return to action.
January signing Gboly Ariyibi has deputised well for Cadden. That being said though, there is one clear winner when it comes to the race for a starting berth on the right.
Ariyibi’s game is built off pace and trickery, something which has worked well. One of his finer games for the Steelmen came against Celtic at Parkhead, where he scored, albeit in controversial circumstances as Robinson’s side put in a brave display against the Champions.
In recent fixtures though he hasn’t been quite as effective, being subbed in his past three appearances. With Motherwell left with nothing to play for in their remaining six fixtures, Cadden should be given the chance to get a start under his belt.
A different animal
Against Rangers, Cadden may even be more suited to the challenge than the American. The Well will most likely be under the cosh for spells in this match and defensive help for the full-backs will be needed. The Scotland international can do this more effectively than Ariyibi. Right-back Liam Grimshaw would certainly benefit from defensive help against the likes of Scott Arfield.
If a more defensive shift is needed, Cadden can break away from defence with ease. His days at right-wing-back last year meant he developed the skills to attack and defend comfortably throughout a game.
If the Scotland international does start, it would be a terrific achievement for the Well youth system. With academy graduates David Turnbull, Jake Hastie and Allan Campbell all nailed on to start, Cadden’s inclusion would mean four of the starting XI are Well youngsters.
That’s brilliant for the Fir Park side. The Scotland international will no doubt want to star alongside his academy peers for the first time. The game against Rangers seems like the perfect opportunity for that to happen.
Ariyibi has covered Cadden well since arriving in January. Despite that, Cadden should still start ahead of him on Sunday. His performance against St Johnstone last week inspired the Steelmen to a 3-0 win. That type of impact is what Cadden could and should be allowed to bring to the table against the Ibrox side.
His last game from the start was against Rangers in a 7-1 defeat. Cadden will want to make amends for that disastrous outing on Sunday.