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