Brum clash will come too soon for Paterson – Warnock
Meanwhile, Gunnarsson and Manga face late fitness tests ahead of tonight’s big clash in Midlands
NEIL Warnock has revealed Cardiff City’s clash with Birmingham City will come too soon for right-back Callum Paterson.
And the Yorkshireman also believes the trip to St Andrew’s will be too early for goalkeeper Lee Camp – both are close to returning to action.
Paterson netted a stunning hattrick for the Bluebirds’ development side on Monday while Camp has also featured regularly for the Under-23 team in recent weeks.
And Warnock expects the Scot to return to action within the next two weeks, adding that he could name him among the substitutes later this month if required.
“Camp and Paterson played again the other day and we’ve got Rhys Healey coming back again,” said Warnock.
But when asked if Paterson is ready to face the Blues, the Cardiff manager responded: “No not yet. He scored a great hat-trick. We thought it was (Sergio) Aguero or someone.
“We gave him a round of applause. He’s got to get that power but we’re not pushing him and we don’t need him at the minute. We want him to be 100 per cent.
“Gordon Strachan mentioned about the size of the (Scotland) team, I imagine Paterson before his injury, people like him will look to get back in the Scottish side.
“To get him like we did was a nobrainer, even though I knew we wouldn’t see him until around November. He’s just got to keep doing what he’s doing.
“He’s playing games now so if I felt I needed him on the bench I would do.
“Camp could play probably in the next fortnight if he wanted to.
“He’s just had a bit of a reaction to his thigh which you’ll get if you’ve been out for a while. Neil (Etheridge) and (Brian) Murphy have done really well.”
Aron Gunnarsson, Bruno Manga and Neil Etheridge all featured for their countries over the international break, with Gunnarsson helping Iceland qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia. But Warnock has revealed Gunnarsson will need to be assessed ahead of the clash with Steve Cotterill’s side.
Meanwhile, centre-back Bruno Manga has not returned to the club’s Vale Resort training base yet after a diarrhoea epidemic struck Morocco while his Gabon side were playing during the break.
“We’ve just got to wait and see about Manga,” added the veteran boss.
“They had a diarrhoea epidemic in Morocco, they played on Tuesday in Paris as well so we haven’t seen him yet. The goal keeper Etheridge we haven’t seen either.
Gunnarsson came back he should be available but we haven’t breathalysed him yet.
“He came yesterday, we trained fully but he didn’t. He said he had cramps over there after the first game, not a problem from his original injury.
“He just did a warm up yesterday. We’ll see what he’s like today. If there’s any doubt we won’t play him.”
Meanwhile midfield ace Joe Ralls believes Cardiff City’s team spirit is the reason why the club’s summer signings have settled in so quickly.
The 24-year-old’s fellow central midfielders Craig Bryson and Loic Damour have both impressed in the Welsh capital since joining the club during the transfer window.
And Ralls admits the intensified battle to be selected by Neil Warnock can only benefit the Bluebirds’ promotion bid.
“There is (good competition for places),” said Ralls. “I think it’s good. We all want to achieve something this year.
“We know the Championship is a hard league, there’s going to be plenty of games and a lot of niggles and things like that so I’m happy with the squad and all of us know in the team that you’ve got to be in form if you want to play games.
“Callum Paterson and (Lee) Camp when they are fully fit as well, at the moment we feel like we’ve got a good squad and there’s still other players to add to that.
“We’ve got the Christmas period not too far away so the bigger the squad the better, really.
“All of the new boys have settled in well.
“We’ve got a great team spirit and a great dressing room. I’m sure they’ll say themselves, it’s an easy team to come into and fit in straight away. I think they’ve done that. Bryson’s started well and Loic. (Danny) Wardy when he’s played, he scored a big goal at Fulham so I think they’ve settled in very well.”
“The Championship is a tough league and Birmingham have some good players. I imagine they’re desperate for points.”
> Callum Paterson, pictured in action for Cardiff City’s Under-23s recently