Healey’s daz­zling Dons as he waits for his big chance

South Wales Echo - - Sport - DO­MINIC BOOTH Foot­ball writer do­minic.booth@waleson­line.co.uk

CARDIFF City have some very real dilem­mas sur­round­ing their strik­ers at the mo­ment, but one young Blue­birds for­ward is thriv­ing out on loan.

Rhys Healey agreed a tem­po­rary deal with Mil­ton Keynes Dons towards the end of Au­gust, although many Cardiff afi­ciona­dos be­lieved he de­served a chance in Neil Warnock’s first team squad.

In­stead, Healey has been busy try­ing to jus­tify the re­gard in which he’s held by some Cardiff fans. Un­der ex­pe­ri­enced boss Paul Tis­dale he’s scored three goals in four starts for loan club MK Dons.

And with his Sta­dium MK deal ex­pir­ing in Jan­uary – cou­pled with Cardiff’s prob­lems up front – the 23-year-old may come back into the reck­on­ing for his par­ent club, though he’s ad­mit­ted he will need to hit big­ger num­bers in terms of goals for the League Two side.

His sit­u­a­tion will be re­assessed in the New Year, as will Cardiff’s strik­ing tra­vails. Warnock is ex­pected to sign a striker when the trans­fer win­dow re-opens but that wont de­ter Healey from his task – try­ing to lay down a marker so the Cardiff boss can­not ig­nore him.

“I’ve al­ways said dou­ble fig­ures (as a goal target), but I’m here un­til Jan­uary so I hope for 12 at least,” he said.

“For the sea­son, I’d want 15 to 20. It’s a big target but hope­fully I can get near it.

“I’ve come here for first team foot­ball, I strug­gled for min­utes af­ter my in­jury, so I’m here, play­ing and that’s all that mat­ters, and with the re­sults now com­ing on a Satur­day, it’s all com­ing to­gether.

“Strik­ers are guar­an­teed two or three chances a game, and even if it doesn’t come off, you’ve got to put it right with the next chance.”

Healey was in sparkling pre-sea­son form for Cardiff be­fore mak­ing the move, hit­ting six goals for the Blue­birds’ first team and Un­der23s side.

But he didn’t make it into Warnock’s 25-man Premier League squad with Gary Ma­dine, Danny Ward and Kadeem Har­ris all pre­ferred to him.

A cru­ci­ate knee in­jury suf­fered shortly af­ter mak­ing his first-team break­through in Fe­bru­ary 2017 has stalled Healey’s progress.

But he came back last sea­son, fea­tur­ing four times for Cardiff be­fore a suc­cess­ful loan spell with Torquay, and had of­fers from League One sides be­fore Warnock chose to link him up with former Ex­eter boss Tis­dale at Mil­ton Keynes.

“He’s get­ting bet­ter by the week,” said Tis­dale af­ter Healey’s lat­est goal in a 3-0 win over Chel­tenham.

“Con­ti­nu­ity of play­ing and train­ing adds some­thing to your game.

“He’s been here a while now, he’s part of the squad, he’s play­ing, scor­ing a goal or two, and he feels part of the fur­ni­ture. I’m re­ally pleased with how he’s con­trib­uted.”

■ Cardiff City’s games against Wolves, Manch­ester United and Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur have all been se­lected for tele­vi­sion cov­er­age.

The home clash with fel­low top flight new boys Wolves has been moved a day ear­lier to Fri­day, Novem­ber 30, kick­ing off at 8pm

Cardiff will host Jose Mour­inho’s United in the Satur­day teatime (5.30pm) fix­ture on De­cem­ber 22, with BT Sport show­ing that one.

And the re­verse fix­ture from the Blue­birds’ last Premier League out­ing against Tot­ten­ham will be shown at 5.30pm on New Year’s Day.

Rhys Healey will as­sess his op­tions in Jan­uary as he looks to catch Neil Warnock’s eye

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