Light at the end of Cardiff won’t take

Western Mail - - SPORT - Chris Wathan Foot­ball cor­re­spon­dent [email protected]­

NEIL Warnock claims Ken­neth Zo­hore is see­ing the light at the end of the tun­nel af­ter fi­nally get­ting to the bot­tom of his in­jury prob­lem, ad­mit­ting his re­turn to could be key to Cardiff City’s bid to be even bet­ter.

But Warnock is still pre­pared to wait un­til the start of 2018 be­fore un­leash­ing the Dan­ish star back into the Cham­pi­onship pro­mo­tion race.

Zo­hore has missed al­most two months of ac­tion af­ter an an­kle prob­lem was com­pounded by the dis­cov­ery of prob­lems from a pre­vi­ous in­jury that even­tu­ally saw the 23-year-old un­dergo surgery.

An ini­tial lig­a­ment prob­lem was di­ag­nosed as to be cured by rest, only for Zo­hore to com­plain of fur­ther pain and leave Warnock doubt­ing his de­sire to re­turn.

But af­ter spe­cial­ists dis­cov­ered old scar tis­sue and ad­vised for the front­man to go un­der the knife, Warnock reck­ons Zo­hore is now well on his way to re­cov­ery.

“He was in so much pain and we talked about him run­ning it off, go­ing through the pain be­cause it was scar tis­sue,” said Warnock, speak­ing ahead of Mon­day’s trip to Read­ing.

“But he was adamant how painful it was and we might have doubted it – I might have doubted it as well.

“But when the sur­geon went in it was one of the worst he’d ever seen, he had never seen so much scar tis­sue in one area, so the pain re­ally was le­git­i­mate.

“We’ve got to the bot­tom of it now and sorted it and you can see the re­lief on his face be­cause he knows he just has to get him­self fit.

“I know it sounds silly when he is in­jured, but he looks bright again be­cause he knows we’ve got to the bot­tom of his prob­lem.”

Zo­hore’s ab­sence has been a big blow for Warnock’s side, with the player wanted by Brighton and Ever­ton this sum­mer ini­tially only pre­dicted to miss one week – but has so far been un­avail­able for Cardiff ’s last eight games. In­clud­ing his match-win­ning strike in the open­ing day win at Bur­ton, last year’s top scorer has man­aged just three goals so far this term. Yet, with sum­mer sign­ings Danny Ward and Omar Bogle step­ping in, the Blue­birds have shown a strength in depth to con­tinue their im­pres­sive form, head­ing into Mon­day’s clash at Read­ing sec­ond in the ta­ble and cur­rently six points clear of the chasing pack. But Warnock reck­ons Zo­hore’s re­turn will prove his pre­dic­tion that his men can im­prove in the sec­ond­half of the sea­son to live up to their pro­mo­tion promise – yet he’s still not ready to risk him. “We’re just happy go­ing along as we are, I am sure peo­ple like Sh­effield United are as well,” said Warnock af­ter last Fri­day’s win over Nor­wich made it four suc­ces­sive wins for the Blue­birds. “We were not sup­posed to be up there. So, let’s treat it like a bonus but let’s en­joy it.

“Be­cause I think we can im­prove if we can just have a lit­tle bit of luck with injuries, we can im­prove in the new year, in the run-in.

“I think we have a lot more to come from two or three.

“Zo­hore hasn’t even started yet, but he is look­ing lively now he’s back and look­ing just to get his fit­ness

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