Ward suf­fer­ing the same sort of luck as Stur­ridge –Warnock

Western Mail - - SPORT - Chris Wathan Foot­ball cor­re­spon­dent chris.wathan@waleson­line.co.uk

CARDIFF City face a wait to dis­cover whether Jamie Ward is set for the side­lines just nine min­utes into his time as a Blue­bird as Neil Warnock com­pared his bad luck to that of Liver­pool star Daniel Stur­ridge.

But Neil Warnock could yet be boosted ahead of the week­end clash with Tony Pulis’ Mid­dles­brough as Craig Bryson pre­par­ing to show he’s ready to boost the pro­mo­tion push.

Ward, a dead­line day loan sign­ing from Not­ting­ham For­est, was handed his Cardiff de­but in Tues­day night’s win over Bolton.

But the North­ern Ire­land in­ter­na­tional hob­bled off af­ter less than ten min­utes gone in the game the Blue­birds went on to com­fort­ably take three points cour­tesy of goals from Ar­mand Traore and Sean Mor­ri­son.

Warnock later re­vealed Ward had suf­fered a groin prob­lem, com­par­ing the sit­u­a­tion to that of Stur­ridge who left An­field on loan to gain game time at West Brom – only to break down in Mon­day’s game against Chelsea, his third out­ing for his new club.

“Jamie hurt his groin,” ad­mit­ted Warnock. I was only look­ing at Stur­ridge the other night, feel­ing sorry for him, and now Jamie has done it him­self.

“He can’t feel it when he’s walk­ing, so we are op­ti­mistic it won’t be too bad, but we’ll have to see.”

Although boosted by re­cent trans­fer re­cruit­ment, Warnock will hope the in­jury does not see Ward ab­sent for a sig­nif­i­cant amount of time as he looks to build on a five-game un­beaten run that has moved the Blue­birds to a point off sec­ond-placed As­ton Villa.

While Warnock has wel­comed Lee Peltier back in mid­week for first start since New Year’s Day, but there are still in­jury is­sues.

Danny Ward is out for the sea­son while Matt Con­nolly is also ab­sent, and Warnock added: “Jazz is a while off and Aron Gun­nars­son is not train­ing on grass yet – though he should be in an­other week to 10 days.

“But I’m hop­ing Craig Bryson will play for an hour for the Un­der-23s this week to show he is ready.”

Bryson has not fea­tured since the Box­ing Day de­feat to Ful­ham, that it­self a first ap­pear­ance in three weeks af­ter suf­fer­ing with an Achilles prob­lem.

Warnock should have Gary Ma­dine avail­able for Mid­dles­brough, re­veal­ing he sent the striker for scans af­ter knocks to his knee and an­kle against Mill­wall as well as the “smashed nose”.

It will see Warnock given a de­ci­sion be­tween his strik­ers, a sign of the greater squad depth he’s formed.

Nathaniel Men­dez-Laing was again dropped from the 18 while Sol Bamba was dropped to the bench, with the vet­eran man­ager say­ing: “I wanted some fresh legs. It was a bruis­ing game against Mill­wall – a good job Pep didn’t see it – so I could make changes. The most dif­fi­cult was telling two lads they weren’t on the bench in Men­dez-Laing and (Greg) Hal­ford.

“I would have liked both on the bench if I’m hon­est but I couldn’t get them on, for dif­fer­ent rea­sons.

“But that’s good for me; if that’s go­ing to be my big­gest prob­lem be­tween now and the end of the sea­son I don’t mind.”

> Neil Warnock in full voice against Bolton on Tues­day

> Jamie Ward

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