We’ve been as far afield as Rus­sia, look­ing for new blood, says Warnock

Western Mail - - SPORT - DO­MINIC BOOTH Foot­ball writer do­[email protected]­line.co.uk

Neil Warnock was scout­ing three dif­fer­ent play­ers dur­ing his trip to watch Nantes ver­sus Mar­seille ahead of a cru­cial Jan­uary trans­fer win­dow for Cardiff City.

They in­cluded 13-goal Nantes striker Emil­iano Sala, with Warnock and his as­sis­tant Kevin Black­well also mon­i­tor­ing a right back and a cen­tral mid­fielder.

The Blue­birds boss re­vealed he was cast­ing his net as far as Rus­sia as the search for Jan­uary re­cruits in­ten­si­fies but loan deals may be more likely than a re­ported £25mil­lion swoop.

Warnock had an­other mes­sage for strug­gling Cardiff striker Ken Zo­hore, whom the York­shire­man still be­lieves can re­turn to form and add much-needed goals to his side.

“We went all over, I went to watch a full back, mid­field player and a striker – all in the same game,” said Warnock when asked about his scout­ing trip.

“We’re out all the time now in Europe. South Amer­ica is a lit­tle more dif­fi­cult and cer­tain leagues fin­ish shortly as well – we’ve been look­ing as far afield as Rus­sia as well.

“It’s al­right hav­ing scouts rec­om­mend tar­gets but you’ve got to have some­one that you know see them, as well.

“We’ve looked at five or six strik­ers in the last few weeks and Ron­nie (Jep­son) was abroad and so was Robes (James Row­berry) this week.

“One game I went to – not the Nantes game – but an­other one I took in, I came back ask­ing the ques­tion: ‘are they bet­ter than Ken Zo­hore?“Ken is train­ing now and I’ve had a word with him and he’s got to get his finger out now be­cause he’s got all the at­tributes.

“When I look at all these other strik­ers, the ones we’re look­ing at, we’re not look­ing right at the top end of the mar­ket. Ken’s got it all in his locker re­ally, it’s such a shame.”

With Warnock con­tin­u­ing to use play­ers out of po­si­tion, such as Cal­lum Paterson up front and Bruno Manga at right-back, he has firmly high­lighted those po­si­tions as Jan­uary pri­or­i­ties.

For­mer Cardiff full-back Fabio Da Silva played along­side Sala for Nantes in the Ligue 1 game – a 3-2 vic­tory for the home side – but Warnock hinted that a re­turn for the for­mer Blue­birds favourite was un­likely.

Spec­u­la­tion will now reach over­drive over the iden­tity of the two other play­ers on Cardiff’s radar.

“It could have been a full-back or a mid­fielder but, if I told you the name, it wouldn’t be as in­ter­est­ing a story then, would it?” joked the Cardiff boss.

On Fabio, he said: “He did all right. Same old Fabio, full of en­deav­our and a few dives but no Ay­a­tol­lahs though!

“Ob­vi­ously we’re look­ing at a right-back. At the mo­ment (Lee) Peltier’s just come back but then we’ve only got Bruno, who would have to play cen­tre-half.

“Then we’re look­ing for a mid­fielder if any­thing hap­pens to Aron Gun­nars­son. We’ve no­body re­ally who can play that po­si­tion as well as Gun­nars in the squad.”

On the type of striker he would like to buy and the pos­si­bly of splash­ing out £25mil­lion – the re­ported val­u­a­tion of Sala – Warnock’s an­swer was tongue in cheek.

“I’d like some­one who could score 25 goals in the next three months!

“We all know what we need. It’s no good look­ing for a cer­tain type of player be­cause they’ve got to be able to work hard as well as put the ball in the net.

“(Sala) has scored some good goals this year. He didn’t have a very good game the other night though. But he’s done well.

“And the Mar­seille lad did well as well.

“We’ve got to find the play­ers that we want and then rec­om­mend the play­ers to the club.

“Then it’s down to the club if they can do a deal, whether it’s a per­ma­nent or a loan –be­cause loans aren’t cheap.

“Mehmet and Ken have been work­ing be­hind the scenes but there’s al­ways com­pli­ca­tions.

“It’s a very dif­fi­cult time Jan­uary. You will get knock-backs in Jan­uary. Even when you’re down the line, some­thing hap­pens. We’ll try and have as many back-ups as we can.

“We’ve only got one more loan player (to sign) in Eng­land, so un­less we buy them per­ma­nently we aren’t go­ing to get more than one.

“We’re look­ing abroad for loans and per­ma­nent deals but we’re also look­ing at English play­ers, whether that be Premier League play­ers who can’t get games or Cham­pi­onship play­ers.”

In terms of this week­end’s clash with Southamp­ton, Warnock re­vealed Paterson would con­tinue up front with his strik­ing depart­ment dec­i­mated by a com­bi­na­tion of in­juries and loss of form.

“Gary Ma­dine’s had a prob­lem, we’ve got Danny Ward who’s in­jured and Ken Zo­hore’s had one day’s train­ing so I think that might an­swer your ques­tion,” he said on his in­jury list.

“The strik­ing problems don’t go away, we’ve still got Jazz (Richards) and Ken un­avail­able so it’s the same sort of squad that we pick from”.

> Ken Zo­hore, pic­tured shield­ing possession from New­cas­tle’s Mo Di­ame, has got many of the at­tributes a top striker needs

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