Posh claims over Tomlin are just ridiculous, says Bluebirds boss Warnock
NEIL Warnock has hit out at the “ridiculous” claims from Peterborough’s chairman over the money Cardiff City are paying Lee Tomlin – but admitted the mercurial midfielder needs to do more to earn a regular Bluebirds place.
Warnock is still full of faith in the player signed from Bristol City this summer, described at the time as being on the veteran manager’s transfer wishlist and bringing about comparisons to the role Adel Taarabt played in firing Warnock’s QPR to promotion in 2011.
Tomlin, though, has struggled to command a starting spot in the Cardiff side, with six of his nine appearances coming off the bench.
He still remains a favourite of fans and many supporters were shocked to see outspoken Posh chairman Darragh MacAnthony claim Tomlin had wanted to join the League One outfit instead of Cardiff when he was set to quit Ashton Gate.
And MacAnthony – during a question and answer session with fans on social media – insisted Tomlin, who spent four years with Posh earlier in his career, was now pocketing £28,000-a-week wages at Cardiff City Stadium after his agent blocked a move to London Road.
The 41-year-old Dubliner said: “Lee contacted me and asked about coming back, but his agent wanted him to stay in the Championship. We made the call to Bristol City, but it didn’t work out and Lee is now on £28k a week at Cardiff!”
But Warnock, speaking ahead of Monday night’s clash with Reading, dismissed MacAnthony’s version of events, also taking issue with reports that Cardiff paid close to £3m for the creative talent.
Asked if he was surprised by MacAnthony’s claims, Warnock said: “No, not really, I think he’s just trying to get out of a hole with his own fans by the sound of it. It’s ridiculous.
“And if he’s going to say stupid comments like that he should at least make sure he’s got the facts.
“We only paid £1.5m, I think everybody knows that, and not £2.9m – and I bet Tomlin wishes he was on that sort of money. He’s nowhere near that, miles away.
“It doesn’t help, comments like that, and I don’t know where he was saying it but he sometimes, because of who he is, thinks he can say what he wants and to hell with the consequences.
“I think he was trying to get out of a hole with his own fans because he was looking to sign someone like Tomlin in the summer, which, no disrespect to Peterborough, I wouldn’t have thought they had a cat in hell’s chance of signing him for the sort of money you’re talking about.”
Cardiff fans are still keen for Tomlin to get the chance to show why there was such excitement about the former Middlesbrough and Bournemouth man’s arrival.
He has been seen as a player that can add an extra creative edge to Cardiff, with Warnock still hopeful the 28-year-old will have a significant part to play in the secondhalf of the season as the Bluebirds look to maintain form that has made automatic promotion a possibility.
Warnock has previously admitted the player had been affected by off-the-field issues, Tomlin having to appear in court where he admitted a charge of affray from an nightclub incident during his time in Bristol.
Yet, with that behind him, Tomlin hinted at his worth with a second-half impact in last week’s comeback win over Norwich, the attack-minded midfielder involved in two of goals in the 3-1 victory and creating a viral buzz with a video clip of a turn to take out two visiting players.
But Warnock warned that he still needs more from Tomlin (pictured), saying: “We know what he can do, but we also know he’s still got to work on other aspects of his game and we’ve put that in place for him.
“Lee knows he’s a matchwinner for us, but we’ve got to try and hope he can eventually start a game rather than just be a substitute. He has to work very hard at his fitness which he doesn’t find easy. Some people are naturally fit.
“It’s not all about doing the wrong things because he is working very hard and we need him to because we’ve got to have people who can change and win matches for us in the second half of the season.
“We’ve got to get him on the top of his game, not just Lee Tomlin but a few of them with a bit of luck with injuries. We’ve lost four of our best players. I sometimes forget who we’ve lost because they’re not there and the lads who’ve come in have done well, but it is frustrating because I know how good we could be with those lads.”